Both Rutgers coach Mike Rice and Villanova coach Jay Wright participated in the Big East's weekly coaches conference call, a day after Rutgers' stunning 77-76 win over Villanova, courtesy of Jonathan Mitchell's four-point play with 0.8 seconds remaining.
"We had a tough loss last night, but in the Big East you have to respond quickly," said Wright, whose Wildcats next host No. 4 Pittsburgh on Saturday. "We give [Rutgers] credit, but we've gotta move on to the Panthers."
Wright said he wasn't unhappy with the way his team defended on the game-winning four-point play -- but he did see some "little things" he was unhappy with on the tape from the final minutes.
"Some of the 3's they hit late, we had lazy contests on," Wright said. "The shot at the end, I really believe we executed defensively the way we wanted to. The timing was just so perfect."
Wright sounded more concerned about his second-leading scorer, Corey Stokes (14.6 ppg), who had to ask out of Wednesday night's game because of a turf toe injury. "We're trying to evaluate it right now, to see if, can you shut him down, do you have enough time for it to get better? Or do you just have him play through it?" Wright said. "We're trying to look at it right now."
As for Rice, not surprisingly he sounded thrilled with his Scarlet Knights' performance on the day after. "Are you kidding me? I'm doing really, really well," Rice said early on in the conference call.
Of the dramatic comeback, during which Rutgers fought back from a 70-60 deficit with 2:52 to play, Rice said, "It was a crazy two minutes -- but it was more than that. It was a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of great practices."
Rice also gave credit to his three seniors: Mitchell, James Beatty and Mike Coburn.
"Last night was a win for our seniors, who will not let us quit, who will not let us stop improving, who continue to fuel the energy and the passion that our team plays with," Rice said. "If we're successful in the years to come in making the NCAA Tournament, it's gonna be because of their hard work."
Rutgers will next host in-state rival Seton Hall on Saturday night -- ESPNNewYork.com will be there.