Feb. 12, 2000
Notre Dame Head Coach Matt Doherty
On today’s game:
“I thought the kids were outstanding. They did fight. It was like a heavyweight match. I thought our guys were getting tired. I wanted to call some more timeouts to give them a break. I had the five in there that I wanted in there. They stepped it up. UConn did miss some shots. Fortunately, Kevin Freeman’s foot was on the line (for a two-point field goal). We struggled at the end to get some hoops. I thought that we were aggressive enough with the basketball for them to foul us and made some critical foul shots.”
“It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world. We battled. If you look at the stat sheet, we got to the foul line 28 times, they only got there three. We play zone and that’s why we play zone, so we don’t foul. We’ll get to the foul line more than our opponents. I was thankful the guys stepped up. David (Graves) and Harold (Swanagan) played great games. Troy (Murphy) didn’t shoot the ball well from the floor, but he made up for it at the foul line.”
On the students reaction after the game:
“The students stormed the court and they lifted me up, which I’m a little embarrassed about. I think they should have lifted the players. They were the ones that fought the game.”
On Troy Murphy and the physical play:
“He didn’t lose it. I felt him maybe start to lose it in the huddle, but he calmed down, took a deep breath, and went back out there. I thought it was physical on both sides. There were plays against us where UConn could have got the calls and vice versa.”
“What a great college basketball environment. I can’t thank the fans and the students enough for the energy they provided our team.”
On the defensive game plan:
“(Albert) Mouring is unbelievable. We came out in a triangle (and 2 defense) and I thought Kevin Freeman stepped up and knocked down some shots. We decided to get out of it and go zone. They did some good things attacking our zone. (Ajou) Deng hit some shots down on the baseline. At halftime, we made some adjustments and did a good job contesting their shots.”
On his shooters:
“I try to give them confidence. I tell them if they’re open, knock it down. Its hard to get open some times. Martin (Ingelsby) missed one early and I told at halftime that if he gets a look to knock it down. Same thing with Mike Monserez. They’re good shooters.”
On Ivan Kartelo:
“Ivan came up there. I didn’t know whether to go man or zone and he stepped up and blocked the shot. He also did some nice work on the boards. He hit a big foul shot down at the end of the game.”
On the status of the team:
“After the Pennsylvania trip, it was not very bright. You are talking about a tough trip. Coming out of a tough trip, we were in a good position for the NCAA Tournament, hopefully, we can put ourselves back in position. This is a step in the right direction.”
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Ivan Kartelo on his block on the final play:
“Coach Doherty told me to go out and contest the shot on the last play. I got a piece of it – it was a good play.”
Troy Murphy on the game:
“We came out and played with our backs to the wall. This is the defending National Champion so we know we had to step up. A lot of my teammates stepped up and played well. We worked in practice on (Khalid) El-Amin and stopped his penetration. I think we did a good job of it.”
David Graves on the win after losing two on the road last week and the atmosphere at the game today:
“The trip to Pennsylvania killed us. We didn’t play hard or together. When we drove in this morning, there were students waiting to get into the Joyce Center. The student section was packed during warmups. I don’t think people realize how much that helps during the game.”
University of Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun
First, I’d like to congratulate Notre Dame. Their hard play down the stretch earned them the win. They deserve full credit for this victory.
On Notre Dame’s play:
There was Jimmy Dillon who handled the ball very well, (Ivan) Kartelo who was able to get some key rebounds, and (Troy) Murphy was a force down-low.
On the physical nature of the game:
It was an extremely physical game, and like the officials told me, it was very difficult to call. I know there was a lot of pressure on the officials from both sides, but there is no doubt that this was a very physical game.
On Connecticut’s shooting:
We shot 56% from the floor, and I can’t remember the last time we shot over 50% and didn’t win the game. I don’t think that has happened in the 14 years I have been here.
On the difference in the game:
The most frustrating thing was that Notre Dame had 28 foul shots. It’s hard to win when you let a team shoot that many free-throws. Once again, we shoot 56% and win by 17 from the floor, but their free-throw shooting determined the game.
University of Connecticut Player Quotes
“We took better shots in the first half, but they stopped the fast break and really made us work for opportunities in the second half. They did a good job getting back on defense and stopping the transition game.”
On Jake Voskuhl only playing sixteen minutes: “We need Jake on the floor and any time he’s off the floor it hurts our presence inside. We need him out there as much as possible.”
“They were playing a zone and it was hard for us to really get guys going to the basket and going aggressive to the basket. I don’t think the calls (officiating) forced the outcome of the game. But the zone was really hindering us from getting to the basket on a consistent basis.”
On Notre Dame’s team effort surrounding Murphy:
“”I think the numbers show for themselves. Graves had a good game and I think Dillon had a solid game with ten assists. It was just unfortunate that we didn’t have as many guys step up as they did.”
On the atmosphere in the JACC:
“It wasn’t that tough, like everywhere the fans were definitely loud but the game was still capable of being won by us and we just didn’t get it done.
Jake Voskuhl on Troy Murphy:
“We just tried to limit his touches and play better team defense on him, but it didn’t really matter tonight. Other guys stepped up and played well.”
On Notre Dame’s team effort:
“They played a good game tonight, they out executed us and they deserve the win. They got the big stops at the end of the game and played well.”