March 20, 2000

Recap?|? Box Score

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Sophomore forward David Graves:

On Xavier as a team: “Hats off to them. They played a great physical game and they did not quit. We had to bring a good game today, because they are a scary team. They are very dangerous. They beat Cincinnati when they had Kenyon (Martin). We prepared hard for them. Coach (Matt Doherty) said he watched as much film on Xavier as anyone the entire year.

On his ballhandling against the press: “Coach (Doherty) studied their press. That is their main defense. They work on it everyday. We had to pick it apart and we knew it would be tough for them to press us because of our spacing. We worked on spacing a lot. They put me on the wing in an isolation and I brought the ball up. We had to get the ball up some way.”

On the ‘shooter’s mentality’: “Towards the middle of the year, when I was not shooting the ball well, you might go 0-for-10 or one-for-11 like I did at Rutgers. Or you might shoot like I did tonight. Your going to miss five in a row, but you also might hit five in a row. You just have to keep shooting. My teammates set some tremendous screens for me (tonight) and the (Xavier) big men were not helping. I just kept shooting it and it felt great.”

Sophomore center Harold Swanagan:

On other teams double and triple-teaming Troy Murphy: “A lot of teams have tried to do that this year. Troy (Murphy) has done a good job with it. The only way they can take him out of the game is to be physical with him since he is such a great player.”

On the importance of this game after suffering an injury versus Michigan: “I just wanted to come out and play hard and get into the game. After the injury last week, I just wanted to prove I could play. The injury wasn’t as big of a factor as the replay on television made it look.”

On the importance of the game for the Notre Dame basketball program: “It is very important. We want to prove the committee wrong for not putting us in the NCAA tournament. We are out to prove something. That is our mind-set every game. We want to go out and play hard and prove we could play in the tournament.”

Xavier Head Coach Skip Prosser

On quick 7-0 deficit…
“We played tentatively, and late, against the zone. We were a very perimeter team early on. We were better off slashing towards the basket and trying to beat the zone that way. We are not going to win many ‘horse’ games. We just didn’t guard them.”

On officiating…..
“I thought the officials did the best job I’ve ever seen of policing our players on the bench. They were precise and sharp. I thought college kids would like to stand up and support teammates. But, the game was not decided on the officials. I had my ‘beefs’ and Matt had his ‘beefs’.”

On Troy Murphy….
“We wanted to do a good job on him. We didn’t consciously try to stop Murphy and let the other guys beat us. Matt does an excellent job of maximizing the contributions of other players without minimizing Murphy. That is a credit to Matt, his staff, and his players.”

On David Graves 21-point scoring effort in 1st half…..
“We weren’t fighting hard enough. We were reacting to screens instead of anticipating them. Graves was not afraid to tell us about it (his scoring) in the first half. Our players weren’t very happy and reacted in the second half. That’s a part of the gamesmanship of the game.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Matt Doherty

On the crowd support:
“If it wasn’t for the fans, we wouldn’t be having these home games. The fans have come out and made a lot of noise. They showed our team a lot of support. At the end of the game, we were dog tired and I don’t think we could have pulled it out without the energy they gave our team.”

“The crowd, they make an impact in three different ways. They help us play harder, they distract the opponent and they help with recruiting. For that, I greatly appreciate the support.”

On Troy Murphy:
“He got frustrated there a little bit. We talked about the Rutgers game and how he learned from that. Troy takes everyone’s best shot and puts up big numbers every night. I’d also like to congratulate David Graves on setting the tone in the first half. He really came out smoking.”

On the tempo of the game:
“I thought our press offense was good. It was so good that Xavier backed off its press for a little bit, though they went back to it late. It’s hard to play Xavier with a 10-point lead because they are going to press you. They are quick. I have a lot of respect for (Xavier head coach) Skip Prosser and his program.”

On the play of Harold Swanagan:
“He started strong. He was 3-of-3 in the first half. He also did a good job on the boards. He hustled and ran the floor. He hadn’t really even practiced since the Michigan game (due to a knee injury).”

On the atmosphere in the locker room:
“It’s a team effort. Every guy is chipping in. I don’t think anybody cares who scores all the points. They just want to win.”

On the limited time between games in postseason:
“I do like it. That’s what we prepare for. Our style is geared toward postseason play. All different kinds of defenses and all kinds of offenses. The tough thing is the opponents have to prepare for us, too. That’s fun when they only have a day to look at film on Notre Dame.”

Xavier Player Quotes

Guard Maurice McAfee
On the difference in the second half: “They made shots, they executed and broke us down. We needed to play bigger and better defense and get more stops and we didn’t. I credit them.”

“The game was physical, but it wasn’t any more physical than any other game we’ve had. That’s not an excuse.”

On the Xavier huddle, down 61-58 with 3:51 left in the game: “We were saying we’re still in this game, let’s get it done. We didn’t get it done though and it was over.”

On strategy once David Graves heated up:
“We still keyed on (Troy) Murphy. He’s a first team All-American. Just because someone else gets hot you can’t totally ignore him. We just had another person to key on that was hot.”

On shooting sixteen three pointers:
“I can penetrate and kick or penetrate and pull up, but they had some big bodies in the middle and played good defense.”

Guard Lloyd Price
On the time out with 3:51 left:
“We were pumped but we knew we had to keep our composure because we were still down. We tried to execute but in the end, they executed more than we did and it paid off.”

On David Graves performance:
“He was knocking the shots down. Coming off the screens, he was knocking the shots we were giving him.”

On his own performance:
“You just have to learn from it. I know there was things that I could have done to help us win that I know I’m not going to let happen this year. From shooting to dribbling to being in the weight room. I would say every loss hurts but this even more because we have some seniors on this team and the team is real close.”