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Parise: One-On-One With Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard

(Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

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By Vin Parise
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The Seton Hall Pirates upset #8 UConn 75-63 last night at home in a game that was not as close as the final score.  The Hall is undefeated at home and has a very happy head coach right now.

WFAN’s Vin Parise had the chance to catch up with Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard.

VP: You have to thrilled, 13-2 overall, 2-1 in league and a Top 10 win.

Willard: I’m really happy for our guys right now.  Our veteran guys are bringing it every night and the young guys have bought in.  These last two wins were great for our program.

VP: What was the game plan for the 1st half last night?

Willard: Containing Shabazz Napier was huge for us last night.  When Napier and Jeremy Lamb are both playing well, UConn is nearly impossible to beat.  Obviously they have so many weapons that can beat you….but the majority of our defensive game plan was geared towards Napier.

(Napier shot 2-12, recorded 4 assists & 5 turnovers in 35 minutes last night.)

VP: Jordan Theodore played terrific & made all of his free throws, but once again, Herb Pope came through when you needed it.

Willard: Herb was great.  He was solid offensively but I really like the way he battled down low defensively and on the boards.  There were many times Herb was battling 1 against 2 down low against both Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi.  Drummond is tremendous as we all know, but not enough people talk about Oriakhi.

(Drummond & Oriakhi combined for 6 points & 7 rebounds last night.)

VP: Has the defense come together as quickly as you expected?

Willard: I like the fact that we have different options on the defensive end.  We pressed West Virginia to turn them over and disrupt them.  We pressed UConn to slow them down.  And we can also play tough man to man when we need to control tempo on the road.

VP: Other than Pope and Theodore, who else is at the top of Kevin Willard’s list right now?

Willard: Fuquan Edwin is playing tremendous.  He’s not about glitz and glamour, he just always does things coaches love.  He plays great defense, he rebounds and he does all the little things.  He leads the country in steals but what he really does best is get deflections and disrupt the other teams offensively.  He had 15 deflections against West Virginia and 11 deflections against UConn.

VP: You have some home court advantage going on in Newark right now.

Willard:  Our fans have been off the charts.  Everyone in the Big East knows that it’s so hard to win a road game in a tough environment.  I think the Rock is one of the toughest places to play right now.

Seton Hall gets back to action this Saturday at Providence – 6:00 pm.

Follow Vin Parise (@VinParise) on Twitter