Feb. 9, 2008

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Notre Dame vs. Marquette
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

On his team’s play at the end of the game…
“We played smart. We did a good job not giving up the three-point shot on their last few possessions. Our fans certainly helped us.”

On the success of Notre Dame’s bench players…
Luke Zeller is in such a rhythm right now. Ryan Ayers stepped up again with 9 points today.”

On the upcoming game at Connecticut…
“We need some rest. This one was a heck of an emotional and physical investment. We need to get our legs back under us before we go to Storrs (Connecticut) and face as hot of a team as us right now. I think they’re better than when we played them in the second game of the (conference) season, but I also think we’re better. I know that they want to get their hands on us.”

On the play of Tory Jackson
“He was really good. He’s one of the big reasons we are in such a rhythm. When your point guard is playing as well as he is, that certainly helps the rest of the team out.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Sophomore Forward Luke Harangody
“We made a couple of mistakes at the end there; I turned the ball over once. But we still stayed poised, no matter what.”

“I wouldn’t say that [we played too safe at the end of the game]. I don’t think we were playing too safe, we just didn’t take care of the ball.”

Junior Forward Luke Zeller
“To play in a BIG EAST game like that, it’s just awesome.”

“I can do that [dunk], it’s just that the threes are open so I knock them down. I just had an opportunity to take it to the hole. I’m trying to play basketball.”

Junior Guard Kyle McAlarney
“I think the bench won the game for us. Zeller in the first half, Ryan [Ayers] and Jon [Peoples] shooting it. They were huge, and they really won the game for us.”

“We’ve seen him [Zeller] do it [dunk] in practice a bunch of times, it’s just a matter of transferring it over. He did a great job tonight, just being aggressive and attacking, and just playing basketball. We really needed him to step up tonight, and he did a great job.”

Sophomore Guard Tory Jackson:
“You’re not going to beat a lot of teams by 20, 30 points. It isn’t going to happen every night. Marquette is a great team. Obviously they are ranked and have been doing a lot of things in the BIG EAST. But today we felt like (this) was our chance to shine and we just did a great job, especially in the end. I couldn’t foul a lot so instead of giving up the three I had to let him drive by. I had confidence in our players to knock down free throws. This is a team win for us. There weren’t any individual stats that really stood out for us. It was just about the things we did as a team. Free throws were big today.”

“Once he got past me I had to be smart about it. I did what I could do. It’s frustrating because I got in the frame of mind where I’ve got four fouls and I had to get the frame of mind where I felt I couldn’t play as aggressive. I just had to play smart and I thought when we knocked down the last two free throws, I had to defend a lot smarter and pressure him more, make him take five seconds to get it up the court.”

Sophomore Guard Jonathan Peoples:
“It’s good for my confidence and to have a nice swagger. They were talking trash, trying to get into my head. I was just tuning them out, trying to make sure I made the free throws and I did.”

“It was really critical. We knew that we had to get this win and we wanted keep our streak up. We just had to go out and out play them.”

“I think he played fantastic. Everybody knows that he can shoot and I don’t know why they play off of him like that, he hit a lot of big shots today.”

“It shows how we can go out there and play together and you get the opportunity you just have to come through.”

Junior Guard Ryan Ayers:
“Myself, and Luke Z. and Jonathan come off the bench to give us a little spark so the three of us off the bench want to be energy guys and we had a balanced effort in scoring today.”

“Oh, he has been playing awesome. He has just gotten so much better, not even making jump shots, but on the defensive game he attacks the ball, rebounds, and more physical out there. He is a guy who just keeps pushing and works hard everyday. So expect more of that from Luke.”

“I have seen it before in practice and I am glad that he got the opportunity to do it today, in a game. He has that long stretch with the left and it’s a powerful dunk. I am glad he brought it out today.”

“He has such a high basketball IQ, I knew he was going to make them. He lives for the crunch time and had a lot of big games in high school and plays a lot of good minutes for us here so I knew he was calm up there and he went up there and just stroked them.”

Junior Forward Zach Hillesland:
“We are so unselfish and there is a lot of kinds of guys that can score in many different ways. The unselfishness… we pass the ball around and move it where ever it needs to be. At the right time, the right guy is going to take the shot.”

“Our poise, toughness, confidence. We had all of those down the stretch and it got us the win.”

Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean

On the play of Notre Dame and Marquette…
“They played very good basketball. They have been a good team all year. I was really proud of the energy, the effort, the passion and the stick-to-it-ivness that our guys had throughout the entire game. There were many times that our guys could have folded up the tents and not felt that this was a winnable game but that never entered into the equation.”

On the outcome of the game…
“The story of this game will be it’s not one that was up and then down or one team that was down and then up it was two really, really good basketball teams full of really good players that played with one another, battling to the very last second.”

On the Notre Dame team…
“They have beaten a lot of good teams. They have been good for a long time. They are good from top to bottom. Their young players are good, obviously their upper classmen are good.”

On the end of the game…
“He (Dominic James) was pressured so well. At the same time, they did a good job on our action and Dominic James had a decision to make, whether to make the pass we needed to make or to put himself in position. I wouldn’t have changed the set play we had. Give them credit — they really defended well at the end.”

“We gambled a little to much. Against a team like Notre Dame, and for the most part in the BIG EAST, if you gamble, you had better be sure you are right. They found a way to win it at the end. Our guys really stuck with it.”

On the play of Notre Dame sophomore forward Luke Harangody
“He is a really good player. He deserves all the accolade and credit that he gets. He is a force. He is going to be a good, good player for a long time.”

On the play of Marquette sophomore guard Lazar Hayward…
“He is really a force. His play does the talking. We are lucky to have him playing the way he is and I know he is going to keep improving.”

Marquette Player Quotes

Junior Guard Dominic James
On Notre Dame’s ability to answer Marquette’s runs…
“It was very frustrating. They made us play. They did a great job of executing on our mistakes.”

On the loss…
“We can definitely take some positives from the game. We got stops when we needed them and made good plays. We have to continue to get better as a team.”