March 22, 2015

Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery

Sunday March 22, 2015
Pittsburgh, Pa., Consol Energy Center
Second/Third Rounds 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

Notre Dame Press Conference Quotes

MODERATOR: From Notre Dame, we have head coach Mike Brey, student-athletes Jerian Grant and Steve Vasturia. Opening statement from Coach Brey. Coach?

COACH BREY: What a magnificent college game. I’m just so proud of our group. We’ve been in those situations many times where we’re down in the second half, compared it a little bit to the North Carolina game last Saturday. We dug ourselves out. Our defense helped us escape in timely, clutch, big offensive plays was also a key. I feel I should address at this time, I lost my mother this morning to a heart attack, and it was kind of a tribute to her. It was really a special night. She’s 84, a former Olympic swimmer, an unbelievable woman, a woman ahead of her time and probably the real driving force behind everything I’ve done. So it was an interesting day, to say the least, and I felt I should at least address that. I think she was definitely with us down the stretch.

MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes only, please.

Q. For Steve, you put the ball on the floor quite a bit tonight. Is that a newer skill that you’ve really grown with this year because you used to be more of just a spot-up shooter. But tonight, it seemed like you were really being aggressive, getting to the rim.

Steve Vasturia: Yeah, I think in this offense, the way we play, we kind of just take what the defense gives us. Having the confidence from coach and our older guys telling me to attack the rim, if I see an opening I’m going to try to make it. Just making the right basketball plays. So tonight I was able to get to the rim a little bit.

Q. Jerian, can you talk a little bit about this being what you came back for? I mean, everything you’re doing, everything you did tonight, everything that lies ahead?

Jerian Grant: Yeah, just when I came back, just talking to the coaches and the players, we wanted to do something special. We wanted to leave a legacy here at Notre Dame, me and Pat, this being our last year. We wanted to be able to do something special. We’re definitely on our way to doing that.

Q. Steve, to go back to the Sweet 16, a place you guys haven’t been for 12 years and for you to have a career night, what does it mean to you and what does it feel like sitting up there now?

Steve Vasturia: It’s a great feeling. We’re playing really well right now. We made big plays down the stretch, and we’ve been that all year, getting big defensive stops, hitting shots. So it’s a great feeling. We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now so we want to keep it rolling.

Q. Jerian, again, on the isolation play there with 18 seconds left, can you talk a little bit about what you were looking for there and I know it was pretty loud, but it looked like your dad yelled from the stands, Go, right around the time you went. Did you hear him?

Jerian Grant: No, I didn’t hear my dad, but I heard the bench telling me to drive. I was going to pull up. I wanted to shoot a jump shot in my step back. But I seen the lane open and my teammates and the coaches on the bench kept yelling drive. I felt like I had a lane. Once I drove, I seen the basket was open.

MODERATOR: Other questions for the studentathletes?

Q. Jerian, what was Roosevelt Jones able to do to score when he got down on the block? Looked like he was able to get some baskets, a strong physical guy. What was he able to do and what were you able to do at the end of the game to keep him from scoring?

Jerian Grant: He’s definitely a physical player. He has an array of moves down there on the low block. So he was catching it a little deeper than we wanted him to catch. He had some nice moves down there. At the end we kind of put a bigger guy on Pat, a little stronger than I am. We had him pushed off the block and made his shots tougher.

MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Congratulations. Questions for Coach Brey?

Q. Mike, I’m sorry for your loss.

COACH BREY: Thank you.

Q. How did you get through it, I guess, is the simple question?

COACH BREY: I don’t know if it’s really registered with me, but my brother and sister are both in Orlando. That’s where my parents are now. My dad’s still alive. So there was great support down there. I talked to them a bunch throughout the day. I tell you, it sure kept my mind off the game. I’ll say that much. But we’re going to celebrate her life. I’m going to go down for the day tomorrow. She had a great run, a woman ahead of her time. As I said, ’56 Olympian, world record holder when the butterfly was first invented. She was one of the first. She always said the East German woman that was breaking her records was on steroids even then. The ultimate competitor. She used to call — I’d talk to her during the season and very rarely did I get hey, Mike, how you doing? It’s like have you got them ready? Are they ready? I think we can beat Duke, Mike. It’s unbelievable. She was intense. It was good to talk to my family. She was with me all the way tonight, and I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my family and watching Kansas and Wichita State tomorrow from Orlando.

Q. Coach, swimming is not an easy sport. You have to really want to do it, especially to excel. What did you learn as you a young athlete and maybe a young coach from your mom that she picked up through that sport?

COACH BREY: My mom and dad were my biggest mentors. Not to take anything away from Mike Krzyzewski or Morgan Wootten, but I grew up with two of the best educators ever. Every kid that they touched, whether the swimming pool they ran in the summer or as high school educators, loved them. I learned a lot right there, that their pupils loved them. I tried to emulate my mom and dad as far as how I interact with people. She tried to make swimmers out of all of us, and I snuck out of practice when I was 9 and she let me go to basketball camp. So that worked out real well.

Q. Was it the 5:00 a.m. swim practices?

COACH BREY: 5:00 a.m. stuff, no way. My sister did it. My brother and I were like can we please go to basketball camp? I got to go to Coach Wootten’s camp and the rest is history.

Q. Back to the basketball end of things, is this — did this game play out exactly like you thought it would where you’d spread the floor, you’d get ball movement, you’d find Vasturia or Connaughton for three?

COACH BREY: We did finally get great looks at crunch time. The game was a lot like games we’ve been in. Dog fights. We’re down. We’ve come out of timeouts in that — the one time-out we were down, what were we down, seven? Yeah, when we were down seven, I was talking about last Saturday. We were down nine to Carolina. I said fellas, we’ve done this before. They’ve been amazingly resilient. We’ve defended all five games of the postseason to get where we’re at. They shoot 33 percent from the floor, Jones had a great night. Dunham never really got going. But our defense and our rebounding, you know, gave us those opportunities. I don’t think anybody in the country makes clutch shots better than our group. It’s not just one guy. It’s a number of different guys that have done it. And I just think we just, we kind of love that moment. And you don’t find that much.

MODERATOR: Other questions for Coach Brey? Anyone? All right. Thanks, Coach, congratulations.

Butler Press Conference Quotes

MODERATOR: From Butler, we have student-athletes Roosevelt Jones and Andrew Chrabascz and head coach Chris Holtmann. Opening statement from coach to begin. Coach?

COACH HOLTMANN: Obviously, a tough one for us. Really disappointing loss. I think we give, you know, Notre Dame a lot of credit. They are obviously hard to play against and I think we were able to do some things and we had the game where we wanted it. We just weren’t able to make enough plays there late. I thought our guys really fought and I give Notre Dame a lot of credit for pulling this one out. I thought the key threes they hit there in the second half or, excuse me, in the overtime kind of broke it open a little bit.

MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes

Q. For Rose, Rose, can you talk a little bit about how you knee felt during the game tonight?

ROOSEVELT JONES: My knee felt pretty good the entire game. The trainer did an excellent job for the two days I had treatment, so I really didn’t feel any pain during the game.

Q. For Andrew, they out-rebounded you barely tonight, 40-36. What was difficult about keeping them off the glass?

ANDREW CHRABASCZ: Possibly just because they spread it, spread the court out so well. So they’re just going to have steam when they’re crashing the boards. That could be why. We just needed to get a couple more rebounds. That’s basically it. Whoever wants it more is going to get it. So at that point, we just needed to get more.

MODERATOR: Any other questions for the studentathletes? Anyone? Gentlemen, thank you. Questions for Coach Holtmann.

Q. Coach, Kellen struggled tonight offensively due to their defense. What did they make — how did they make it difficult on him to get clean looks?

COACH HOLTMANN: I think he was able to get some clean looks and I think the clean ones he got, he wasn’t able to knock down, just wasn’t his night. Having said that, I think they did a good job on him. I think Grant did a good job; his length and athleticism bothered him. They obviously gave him a lot of attention. I think he would admit that there were some looks he had that he would like to get back, and he just had some clean ones he wasn’t able to knock down. Having said that, you have to give them credit because I think they wore on him a little bit.

Q. In overtime, did this game play out from a defensive standpoint exactly like you thought it would, where they spread the floor and they’re just really, really hard because you have to guard from sideline to sideline?

COACH HOLTMANN: Yeah. It’s exactly how we thought it would play out. I think we fouled them too much there in the first half. We talked to our guys about that at halftime and were able to limit some of that and were able to get some momentum there in the middle part of the second half. Again, we just couldn’t make quite enough plays. But I can’t say enough about it. I think our guys played with great effort. They followed the game plan. We had it where we wanted it.

Q. It’s probably too soon to grasp everything, but you just wrapped up your first season as Butler’s head coach. What do you think of this group that carried you through this first season?

COACH HOLTMANN: As I told them in there, Tom, we’ve said it — I’ve said it for the past couple weeks, there’s not a group that I wanted to do this with more than this group. I think the special thing for us, and it’s hard to think about right now, but I think those that — we certainly hope that those that we have a great deal of respect for, that have either played for coached or been a part of Butler, we hope that they have taken great pride in the way we’ve went about things this year. And that’s a credit to those guys. I think they have played with a resiliency and a toughness that hopefully represents or certainly has represented our program. And I told them there they did that this year and it’s something we need to continue to do.

MODERATOR: Anyone else for Coach Holtmann? Coach, thank you.

Locker Room Quotes

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Quoting Pat Connaughton | Senior | Guard/Forward

On how it feels to advance:

“We came into the season trying to do things that this program hasn’t done in a long time. The regular season was the most important thing to start out with and the ACC tournament was one of the biggest accomplishments that our program has had. We didn’t want it to stop there. We were able to persevere through some tough times tonight and come out with a win and we are headed to the Sweet Sixteen.”

On his block with 3 seconds left:

“I had actually said `not tonight’. We had made a few mistakes and there were some guys that were frustrated. I said to them, that is dead and gone, there is nothing we can do about the mistakes we made. The beautiful thing about it is that we have complete control over the outcome of this game. We have been preaching the entire season that we are going to try start with defense. We want to have defense be the rock of our program. Everyone talks about our offense, but to be able to get that stop on the defensive end to send us into overtime is something that I am very proud of these guys for.”

On his 3-pointer in OT with a tied score:

“It felt great. I hadn’t stroked many threes up until that point. I was running back down the floor and I told the guys on my team that it was only a matter of time. One of the mottos I try to live by is something my dad always said to me and it was that `winners win’. At the end of the day, when it comes down to win the ball game, I want to be there to make the plays, to help my team do that and they have the trust in me to do that. We weren’t ready to go home tonight.”

Quoting Demetrius Jackson | Sophomore | Guard

On getting the victory:

“It was really up and down. It was a hard fought battle on both sides. They played such a good game and controlled the tempo most of the game. Our guys did a great job stepping up. It is a little bit of deja vu with those three pointers.”

On being a part of this game:

“It was really up and down. Our coach did a great job of leading us and our leaders did a great job leading us and we came out with a win.”

On the last possession of regulation:

“Our coaching staff really does a great job of keeping us calm. We have been in situations before where we have to win it with our defense.”

On going to Cleveland:

“It sounds good. We have so much fun playing together so I’m excited about just getting back on the court with my team.”

On getting to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in twelve years:

“It is such a special win. It’s now how can we continue to get better and move forward from here.”

Quoting Zach Auguste | Junior | Forward

On the feeling after his mistake:

“It just has to be on to the next play. I have to drop it as tough as it was and it was a mistake on my part, but my brothers have my back and have my head up.”

On his teammates consoling him after his turnover:

“It was very important. They had all the reason to be mad at me. I made a bad mistake but that is the best part about this team.”

On the feeling on moving on to the Sweet Sixteen:

“It feels amazing. It is one of the best feelings ever. We kind of expected it, but we are not satisfied still. It is something that we want to take on.”

On their bigger goals:

“We are not satisfied with where we are right now. Our goal is to win a national championship. We have to take it step by step.”

Butler Bulldogs

Quoting: Alex Barlow | Senior | Guard

On having to watch the end of the game from the bench after fouling out:

“Any time a season ends or a career ends, it’s tough and that was extremely tough to sit over there and watch my teammates. [Jerian] Grant made a great play and caught me in the air and I made a mistake. I didn’t make many all game but that’s what great players do, when you make a mistake they take advantage of it and he did. It was costly.”

On how good Notre Dame’s execution was in overtime:

“It was good. That’s the kind of team they are. They can get rolling and they can get rolling quick. They hit a couple shots and got a couple open looks that we probably didn’t want them to get and then we couldn’t score enough points to beat them. Hats off to them though, they’re a great team, there’s a reason they’ve had the season that they’re having. I’m sure they’re going to have a chance to continue this run in Cleveland.”

On the season they have had:

“We had a lot of people doubt us, a lot of people that thought last year was going to become the norm but from day one this team didn’t accept that. We found a way to prove a lot of people wrong and have a season that not many people outside of Butler expected and we were one play away from going to the Sweet Sixteen. If you had told me before the year that we would have the ball with 20 seconds left and a chance to go to the Sweet Sixteen I would have taken it right then and there. This group accomplished a lot, it was a special season and a season that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, but obviously we wish we were still playing.”

Quoting Kellen Dunham | Junior | Guard

On being held in check offensively:

“My roommates did a good job of scoring the ball, especially Roosevelt [Jones] and Andrew [Chrabascz], so I tried to take the role player role and I was trying to be as aggressive as I could and I missed a few more shots than I’m used to.”

On recovering as a team after Alex Barlow fouled out:

“It’s tough because he makes so many plays defensively for us and runs our team from the point guard spot so missing him was huge. He tried to make an aggressive play but [Jerian] Grant made an even better play.”

On Roosevelt Jones’ toughness:

“He’s unbelievable, I haven’t played with a tougher guy in my life. I’m so blessed to be able to play with him everyday.”

On what you can take from this loss moving forward:

“Be a little bit more detailed in practice and just keep your composure when things don’t go your way.”

On the graduation of seniors like Alex Barlow and Kameron Woods:

“They’re going to be huge losses, there’s no way that we’ll be able to replace them but looking forward I think we have a tough enough program that we can turn it around and make the most of it.”

On what made the difference in the overtime period:

“They hit a few huge shots and defensively I wasn’t able to contribute as much as I wanted to, so that’s something I’m going to have to work on in the summer.”