Jan. 10, 2012

Recap | Box Score | Notes

Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
Notre Dame vs. USF
January 10, 2012
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center – Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

Opening Statement…
“I am happy with this game, you know, two games in a row in the BIG EAST. We played well against Pittsburgh and I didn’t think we were very good at Cincinnati. So can we handle some success at Louisville and then come back and do what you have to do to win a grinding lead game? Our defense was outstanding tonight and I thought our poise was great when they put some game pressure on us in the second half.”

On the fear of a potential let-down game after Louisville…
“Absolutely. I was very concerned about this and South Florida’s experience scares the heck out of me because they have been around. Those guys have been around together. They are really men, obviously they were feeling good about themselves, winning at Villanova, but we didn’t handle being told we had a big win after the Pittsburgh game very well, so I said let’s see how we do. I think we did a really good job and there were different guys doing things for us again. To have three league wins on January 10th; I am ecstatic.”

On the defensive play…
“The interesting part of the game was that they were kind of burning us. They were patient and were basically burning it. They were getting the game down to single digits and playing methodically. I thought we did a great job at the end of the clock defending. They hurt us on the offensive boards a little bit, but when it came down to the last ten minutes and it was time to win the game, we were pretty much one-and-done. We were also patient on the other end, so it made for one of those grinding games and maybe that is how we play the rest of the way. It’s something that is good for us, but you had two teams being very patient. Again, I am thrilled about our defense.”

On Scott Martin
“I think Saturday afternoon jump-started him. I mean the guy is making shots, which is great, but he is rebounding the ball. He is confident. He’s feeling good. Certainly a game like Saturday gets you going. That is a good example of how a great game like that can jump-start a player. I hope he can keep being a double-double guy the rest of the way.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Jack Cooley – Jr. – Forward

On the slow start to tonight’s game…
“A lot of people could have just said, ‘Oh, you know, they beat Louisville and then maybe they messed up a little, but that’s fine,’ but we just didn’t want to let that happen. It kind of happened in the first half, so I knew we had to play better in the second half because they’re a good team, and they can come back at any time. So I knew we just had to come out and put them away, and it’s a big BIG EAST win.”

On the test of maturity that tonight served to be for the team…
“I mean going from two totally different environments from Saturday to now and being able to perform the same way is huge. It says a lot about our team and how much growth we’ve had.”

On “separating themselves from the pack” following the team’s recent success…
“To think that we may be able to do that this late in the season is really incredible. It’s unbelievable what has happened this year in the BIG EAST. You have teams on the bottom of the rankings that are usually perennial powerhouses, so we need to take advantage of that this year.”

On Scott Martin
“He’s just been an animal on the boards lately. I can’t even get any rebounds anymore because he’s taking all of them. He’s just been an animal lately, and he took it upon himself to just play better for our team. He has just stepped up exponentially. What he does for us you really can’t put into words.”

Jerian Grant – So. – Guard

On the change in environment from playing at Louisville to playing USF at home…
“It’s definitely different. Going on the road, fans will be loud the whole game, screaming at you. Coming back here and playing South Florida, it is kind of calm, but we have a really mature group. We’ve been maturing all season, and our team is definitely getting better.”

On what changed the tide in tonight’s game to lead to the win…
“It was definitely just our poise. Scott Martin hit some big shots. We were going to him towards the end when we needed a basket because we felt that he had a mismatch in the guys that were guarding him, and he just came through for us.”

Scott Martin – Sr. – Forward

On his strong performance in recent games…
“The ball went in, and that’s always good. When you make shots you feel better and you make more shots. I think good things kind of build on themselves. I just need to make one [shot]. Once I make one things just start rolling.”

On his rebounding…
“We’ve really made a point to rebound well. In order to beat these types of teams in the BIG EAST you have to rebound well. I’m down there so I might as well grab it.”

On Notre Dame’s defense…
“I think we know that our defense leads to offense; that’s how a good team needs to be. Even if you’re struggling offensively and you still get stops, it’s not going to hurt you. I think we strung together a few stops in a row and then made some baskets, and that always helps you pull through.”

On staying focused after the big win against Louisville…
“I feel like [USF] pressured us and got in our passing lanes and disrupted us a little bit. We were a little shell-shocked to begin with, so you have to credit them. They frustrated us, but we were able to slow ourselves down, regain our composure and then go back at them.”


USF Head Coach Stan Heath

Opening Statement … “Notre Dame played a very good basketball game and their team work was outstanding. They hurt us with some match-ups out there on the court. Scott Martin played well against us last year. He has been in a little bit of a slump of late and broke out of it tonight, not with the long ball. He was just able to drive and take advantage of some match-ups. I thought (Jack) Cooley was effective as well. We had some lay ups and some open shots tonight and against a team like Notre Dame we need to make them. Once they stretched the lead out and went into the burn and milked the clock; it was almost like we were down by 20 instead of down by eight.”

On Notre Dame’s Defense… “We were able to penetrate in the first half and attack. I thought in the second half we kind of settled and we didn’t play as aggressive. They (Notre Dame) switched a little bit more on the defensive end and kept us in front of us and used some length. I thought we had some lay-ups and shots in close and when you don’t make those you get a little more frustrated and it seems like those next plays don’t happen as well. I thought it was their defense, but it was a lot of us.”

On South Florida’s Bench… “(Jawanza) Poland was kind of the lone ranger when it came to our bench play tonight; except for (Ron) Anderson Jr., who had 10 rebounds and gave us some production. I think the bench is the strength of our team. For us to be effective our bench play needs to be productive in games for us and it just didn’t happen for us tonight.”

On Jack Cooley “I wish he was a senior I guess he has another year. He has played well against us. He continues to get better and better every year.”

USF Player Quotes

Ron Anderson, Jr. – Jr. – Forward

On the overall experience at Notre Dame…
“It was nice. I like all the facilities; the sporting facilities are really nice. I can tell they are kept in great condition. As far as the game tonight, they came out and they played well. The crowd was into it. You can see that the tradition really comes out at every game. I can tell that a lot of people really live for this, to have an experience like this at Notre Dame. It seems that day in and day out the fans come out and support them. So it’s always good to go through a college experience like this for us, where the fans are really powerful about their sport and their school.”

On preparing for the game tonight…
“We have about two or three days before the game to practice. We just practice and go over the scouting report. It’s pretty much the same for every game.”

On looking at what BIG EAST play holds…
“We’re going to play now. I think that a lot of guys coming back from last year, they have a year under their belt, a lot more experience. I think that in BIG EAST play our guys will be a lot more comfortable playing. As a team, we’re a lot more comfortable. The seniors have another year playing with each other, and the chemistry is building. I’m looking forward to the BIG EAST season, and I feel that we will do good.”