Jan. 28, 2006

Recap | Final Stats

Notre Dame vs. Villanova
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey
January 28, 2006

On being a great ball club but not being able to close out games
The main thing is to be resilient. Our guys are resilient. We are going to have to watch some West Virginia tape tonight and get ready. They were a very good team. Villanova is a heck of a basketball team. I am proud our players put us in a chance to win but when we were down by 17, they were giving it to us pretty good. There were few loose balls or a few block-outs that were missed, but you cannot focus on that. You just have to make up for it.

On using a smaller line-up in the second half
We really had to spread the floor and drive it. We were able to get in the bonus, get some drives and get some penetration. We also played good man-to-man. We limited them in the second half some, but you will not be able to shut them down. They are a great offensive team. We played well at times but there were also times when we hand checked and reached a little bit. We really had to be smarter and not foul on their drives.

On battling back
I thought Russ [Carter] looked really good and Kyle [McAlarney] gave us a lot of good minutes. They did a really good job in taking Colin [Falls] away but with that concept it opens up chances for a lot of other guys. Luke [Zeller] also looked good for us. I mean we scored a lot.

Notre Dame vs. Villanova
Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright Quotes
January 28, 2006

On the game
“That was a great college basketball game. We were very fortunate to get out of here with the win. We’ll take it and move on to the next Big East battle. Going into this game, I said Notre Dame could’ve easily come in to the game tonight 4-2 in the conference. They could’ve also just as easily left it 5-2. Those kids play hard and are very hard to play against. I thought that the Notre Dame players were giving a great effort and executing well. Our team has a lot of seniors and I think that helped make a difference tonight.

On Kyle Lowry
“He’s a point guard, but in our system we let him go for the glass because he’s so good at rebounding. Normally, we always have him going for the offensive glass. He loves it and so much of rebounding is passion. He’s a really heady basketball player. He anticipates plays very well. Thank God we have him.”

On taking a big lead early in the second half
“I thought that we got the right people making shots. We were making jumpers. There was a period after that where we took everything to the hole but weren’t finishing. When we switched away from shooting jumpers, we had a 17 point lead. The only thing with taking it to the hole was that I thought we were getting good shots. We just missed lay-ups that we normally make. At that point, I had to just let them go because they were getting good shots.

On Notre Dame
“Notre Dame just kept coming. I give them a lot of credit; they kept playing their game. If you watch tape of them every game, you see that they never die. We showed our guys that before the game. In the Pittsburgh and Georgetown game they just kept coming, and we expected it in this game.

On limiting Colin Falls participation
“We have a lot of good perimeter defenders. A lot of times, it might hurt us on the glass. I thought it did tonight; I thought as a team they got some offensive rebounds that hurt us. The advantage is that when you play a team like Notre Dame that is so strong on the perimeter, we can put different guys out there to shut Colin Falls down.

Notre Dame vs. Villanova
Villanova Player Quotes
January 28, 2006

Senior G Randy Foye
On Notre Dame’s second half comeback
“They clawed their way back into the game and we weren’t getting the kind of possessions that we wanted. They made a great run, but it came down to one play at the end and we made it.”

On the makeup of the BIG EAST Conference
“We’re always going to be in close games. In the Big East, when you go play on someone else’s court it’s always tough to play. We know that the other team is going to make a run, but we just have to keep our composure and keep coming at them.”

On the team’s balance among the guards
“This is how it has been the whole year. We don’t want to have a team with just one scorer, and with our guards we’re always going to have a chance to win.”

Junior G Mike Nardi
On Notre Dame’s defense
“I thought they did a really good job in the second half, especially with limiting my looks. Overall they just played tough defense as a team.”

On Kyle Lowry’s last-second tip-in
“Kyle really has a knack for the ball. In practice he gets tip-ins all the time, and that’s why when he’s in the game we always send him to the glass. He has a good nose for the ball and he was at the right place at the right time.”

On Villanova’s defense on Colin Falls
“With a guy like that, you can’t let him touch the ball. If he hits one he might hit two, or three, or four. We tried to limit his looks and make him drive the ball more than shoot spot-up threes.”

On the team’s strategy in the second half
“We tried to get to the basket more because in the first half our threes weren’t falling outside of my own. We had to mix it up a little bit and that’s where Randy and Kyle come in because they can get to the basket.”

Notre Dame vs. Villanova
Notre Dame Player Quotes
January 28, 2006

Senior G Chris Quinn
On the flow of the game
“We had them in the first half; then they came back strong and went up by 17 in the second half. We did a great job fighting back. It is a game we just couldn’t close in the end.” On shooting the 3-pointer late in the game
“I thought I could take it. I wanted to put a little extra pressure on them. I guess I could have waited for the shot clock to run down a little more, but I was just trying to make a play.”

Junior G Russell Carter
On losing yet another close game
“It is hard, but it would be much harder if we were getting blown out by 20 points. Then we would be wondering if we are not good enough or not doing this or not doing that. In every game we compete it is just a matter of this play happened or that play happened, but we are going to be fine. We are just going to focus on West Virginia.

Freshman F Luke Zeller
On the thought of the team being in the movie “Groundhog’s Day”
“He got out of it and so will we. We just cannot give up, keep moving forward and focus on the big picture. It is not like they are going to make a movie about us or anything.”

On this not being Notre Dame’s year
“You cannot let yourself think that you have to stick in there and continue to play. We are not just going to give up. We are going to continue to work hard everyday; and you know the sun will come up tomorrow.”