March 8, 2006
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: In March, any win is a good win. That’s a very good win against a very tough team that did what they’ve done all year they fight. They keep fighting, they keep coming. We got down early. Then we responded and came back. I just thought it was a tough game. Two teams that play tough. I thought our team played very well in the second half today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about the way Brandon played. You’ve been on him all year.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: Two years (smiling). That is accurate. I thought Brandon Bowman, he had a special performance today. Not just the points, I just told him in the locker room, he made smart plays. He got it in there, threw the right passes, got big rebounds when we needed it. A lot of little things that make you win games, not just the points. Brandon did all the little things today coming up with balls, getting a deflection here, talking on defense. Then, on top of that, he put the ball in the basket. I thought he was terrific today, there’s no other way to put it.
Q. Can you talk about your team’s work on the offensive boards. Half of the shots you missed you got offensive rebounds.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: Means we’re missing too much (smiling).
We have to do that. We had to do that. We wanted to get we started off the game, you know, and that zone had it spread out a little too much. We took, I don’t know the exact numbers, but I feel like we took too many threes early. Jeff got a couple inside and missed but other than that we took too many threes early. Then we went to one of our sets. We wanted to try to get it on the inside. We were in position to do that. Our guys made a conscious effort to go after the ball. These guys just went after the ball.
Q. Can you talk about Roy’s presence, especially defensively on the boards.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: Roy’s presence?
Q. Especially defensively.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: Yeah, honestly, I thought that and I didn’t realize I felt that he had scored more points, looking at the stat sheet now. I thought he was a presence on offense also just because he draws so much attention. People gravitating to Roy enable that middle to be open so much.
On the defensive end, he’s getting better. He’s getting better. But, you know, he is a presence, and we need him to continue to be a bigger presence.
Q. Brandon, talk about your game today, the importance of your contribution.
BRANDON BOWMAN: It was kind of like what Coach said, being a senior, you got to step up, make big plays. Doesn’t just include scoring and what not. It’s everything else.
You know, I got a couple big offensive rebounds during the stretch, you know, that we kind of converted on. So, I mean, plays like that, a couple tips here and there on defense, you know, things like that, getting loose balls, those are all things Coach has been preaching to the team about. I mean, we’ve been doing our best to try to, you know, do that. We know that in March it takes all those plays to win games. I’m just trying to contribute basically.
Q. Brandon, can you talk about that last basket. You went up for the drive.
BRANDON BOWMAN: Oh, man, that’s eight minutes, that’s eight minute layups before every practice. Practice that layup going to the left side, hop the glass, you know. It worked.
The coaches, they preach make layups. We were missing a lot of layups. I mean, Coach has been uneasy about it, but I think today we did a good job for the most part. That’s all it is, putting it up high off the glass. Went in.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: That was a nice layup, wasn’t it? That was a really nice layup. Work on it every day.
Q. Any specific adjustments you make for tomorrow against Marquette, Coach?
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: I can answer that in a couple hours. You know, I don’t know. I got to figure that out in a couple hours. You play one good team, then you got to get ready for another good team. You play one team that has guys that can put the ball in the basket then you play against another team that has guys that can put the ball in the basket.
We’ll see. We’ll see.
THE MODERATOR: For Notre Dame we’re going to have Colin Falls and Chris Quinn with Coach Mike Brey.
COACH Mike Brey: They’re a very good, very poised basketball team. I thought we gave up second shots at key times. That really hurt us.
Gave ourselves a chance to win, but put backs by them hurt us. We finished the first half so well and we started the second half just poorly, and then you’re digging out of a hole.
But I give Georgetown credit. They’re older and they played together for a while. They don’t get rattled. They just methodically played.
Q. Can you talk about defensively in the second half, (inaudible).
COACH Mike Brey: Well, you know, I love the fact that it was 41% field goal percentage defense. I mean, overall, they got into a better rhythm against the zone in the second half. But the key possessions, I thought, we forced the right shot. They also hit two bombs at the end of shot clocks. We were in man one possession, we were in zone one. I think I can live with those. I mean, they hit big ones.
Even though their rhythm may have been better against our zone, I thought the first shot was missing for the most part. It was the second shot that hurt us. I thought we defended the shot that Bowman made was a tough shot. I mean, Torin rode him kind of into the cheerleaders and he hit a lefty runner. I mean, that’s just a talented play. We can’t do much better there.
Q. Coach, do you feel (inaudible) when you play teams?
COACH Mike Brey: Not really. I think for us we tried to flush all that when we went through that stretch in the first half of the BIG EAST.
I mean, I think for us, I’ve never wanted that to be an excuse or whatever. I will say this: People have hit some big shots on us, and tough shots. Those two threes were bombs. Maybe the karma is a little different, I don’t know.
But I think it’s kind of petty if you fall into that trap, and they haven’t. They’ve been resilient and not used that as an excuse.
Q. Colin, just talk about how tough it was.
Colin Falls: Yeah, I mean, I got out in transition the first probably three or four plays of the game. Chris found me, and I made some shots. But they put the clamps down on D, they were showing on all screens. It made it difficult to get open looks.
Q. When you got up 11 0, was it a matter of them settling into their game? Did you notice a specific change?
COACH Mike Brey: I think they’re a good team. They’re going to make a run at us. I was happy the start we got off to. I never thought, you know, we were going to hold I thought it was going to be game situations and get down to it because they’re too experienced a group. Second shots helped them get into the rhythm in both halves.
Q. Chris, could you talk about the disappointment. You guys came in here, I thought, with a lot of confidence. Talk about not getting it done.
Chris Quinn: Yeah, you know, we talked a lot about our last two games kind of being part of the BIG EAST tournament at Providence and versus DePaul. In order for us to be here, we had to win those games. We came off those two games very confident, coming in here.
You know, Georgetown played great. I think they really, you know, stayed with their game plan and how they want to play, you know, even when we got off to a great start.
Q. You talked a lot about playing loosely. Did you feel like you guys did that? It seemed like you were tight in spots.
Chris Quinn: Maybe in spots. I think offensively we played pretty loosely, I think. Forced them to take some tough shots on the defensive end. I think we just needed to do a better job of being quicker to the ball and getting the loose balls and rebounds.
Q. Mike, real quickly, can you talk about Rob Kurz.
COACH Mike Brey: I thought Rob has grown into a BIG EAST forward, you know, over the last month. Certainly that’s something we really want to build on. He’s been coming. Really feel good about him. Got to get him as much experience in this postseason as possible because he’s coming back as a junior.
I think he really can walk out of here certainly disappointed about losing, but I’m going to grab him in the hotel. He has arrived as a BIG EAST forward.
Q. Mike, what did you say to the guys?
COACH Mike Brey: Well, I mean, I told them, I said, you know, great effort. Again, but second shots cost us. That’s, you know, hurt us at times. Speed to the ball. We wouldn’t win the 40 yard dash lining up with those guys. We tried to pack it in a little bit where we wouldn’t have to chase it down as much. For the most part, we did a pretty good job. But at key times, that really hurt us.
I said, Before we play again next week because we will play again next week we’re going to work on that and we’re going to get back and practice, and I want us to take advantage of getting to still play basketball, you know, certainly for some old guys but our young guys, too.