Jan. 22, 2011

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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
Notre Dame vs. Marquette
January 22, 2010
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center o Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

On the come from behind win…

“What a great win for this group. They’ve been in this position before but never in this building. I thought we were great in the second half. We were able to get their speed under control by playing some zone. Our old guys played great in the second half. We were able to run a little out of our zone against their really good half court man and made big free throws. We believed we were going to finish.”

On the fans tonight…

“Our fans gave us a great energy lift when we made the run in the second half to help us feel we could do it here, but we do feel we can do it here.”

On the risk of switching to zone defense…

“It was no different than the Wisconsin or Georgia game where we’re down double digits. We really don’t have any answers in man to man, so let’s try to change their rhythm a little bit. Their shots came up but in a little different rhythm. All of a sudden, it’s a little different shooting when the game pressure comes on you. Overall, I thought we did a good job knowing who the three shooters were. Then, we were able to rebound out of zone. We weren’t able to rebound in man to man. We weren’t even jumping off of the floor like we can. They were just so much faster than us.”

On Marquette’s pressure defense…

“It’s hard to sustain that kind of pressure for 40 minutes, but luckily, they got tired. They couldn’t sustain it. Then, they sustained foul trouble, so they couldn’t get in and face guard you and switch all the time. They were able to do that for most of the game in Milwaukee.” On Eric Atkins… “I though Eric [Atkins] was great. It was a tale of two halves, though. Eric was fabulous in the first half because we were dying to find something. He scored some shots for us and kept us believing we could win. He was keeping us alive. Eric gave us great minutes.”

Notre Dame Players

Carleton Scott – Senior – Forward

On this being a big game… “That was a tough one. We were up against the ropes going into halftime. We just came in and talked to each other. We need to focus in the end of the game and lock down on defense.”

On being down nine at home with them shooting 60% in first half… “(We showed) perseverance. We have to take the punches. They threw some punches. We definitely have to weather the storm. That’s what we did.”

On playing zone to take them out of their rhythm… “That’s what Coach (Brey) talked about. We used it to throw something new at them that they weren’t expecting. When they’re shooting the ball well, they didn’t expect for a team to play zone against you, so we probably caught them off guard.”

Tyrone Nash- Senior – Forward

On reason for the win tonight… “Our will. We talked all year about our composure and will. Our willingness in this arena is hard to stay with for 40 minutes.”

On saying enough is enough at half… “First, (Tom) Kopko came in and said ‘guys, we aren’t rebounding.’ That’s the main thing right there. We rebound, and we win the game. We have to concentrate and go out in the second half and rebound. Fast break points led into us getting back into rhythm.”

On waiting for law of averages to kick in… “We were just imposing our will. It’s hard to withstand for 40 minutes. They did a good job for withstanding for 20 minutes, but it’s a 40-minute game. They weren’t hitting their shots for the whole game, especially in our gym. They did it in their gym, but not in ours. We locked down in the second half, held them to 44% shooting and got the rebounds we needed.”

On helping out Ben Hansbrough “He was unconscious today. He played great. He really carried us in the first half and then we needed to help him to win this game. We really kicked into gear. Carleton (Scott) had a double-double in his second game back. Great total effort.”

Eric Atkins – Freshman – Guard

On getting a kick start early in the game… “I got open looks. Everybody on this team is confident in me shooting the ball. I just took my opportunities.”

On the change in the team the last two games… “We really just worked on getting open and screening for each other better. It showed in the last two games. In the other games with St. John’s and Marquette, they were all over us. We screened for each other a lot better today. We were able to pop open better.”

Ben Hansbrough – Senior – Guard

On his baseline dunk in tonight’s game… “I just had the angle. I am capable of doing that. We work on that every day in three man weave. The opportunity got there, I just went up and finished it strong and it went in.”

On going to a zone in the second half… “I think the coaching call to go to the zone changed the whole momentum of the game. The way they were playing in the first half, I didn’t know what was going on. I feel like they made almost every shot. Marquette is a great team. They are very well coached. I think they are one of the hardest playing teams in the country. They had a great game plan against us. I think our team showed a lot of heart tonight.”

On keeping up the defensive intensity while having three fouls… “You just have to be smart. You have to understand that you have three fouls, and try to stay in front of people. You can’t reach, obviously, as much as I like too. I like to get in there and try to get some steals.”

On his fade-away three to beat the shot clock… “I think Tom Kopko helped me out on that play. I knew it was the end of the shot clock because as soon as I caught it he said, ‘shoot it.’ I just turned around, let it fly and I got lucky and it went in.”

On the crowd’s effect on the game… “The crowd was great tonight. I felt the whole atmosphere was great tonight. We got going and they gave us a huge boost. Coach Brey calls them the sixth man, and they gave us a huge boost of energy. When the crowd is going like that it is very fun to play.”

Scott Martin- Senior – Forward

On how he would describe tonight’s game… “Determined. I think we were determined. We weren’t down on each other. We were focused on what we needed to work on, and I think we fixed some of the issues. It was enough to get the ‘W.'”

On Marquette’s impressive shooting performance… “We said at halftime ‘they are going to hit shots.’ They have played us like this for three halves. They are a very good shooting team. We had to get out there and challenge their shooters. When they did miss we made sure we got that rebound so they didn’t get another shot.”

Tim Abromaitis – Senior – Guard

On Ben Hansbrough’s dunk… “He does that in practice every day. I didn’t know if he was going to go up with it, but it definitely got us all excited.”

On Marquette’s impressive shooting performance… “I don’t know what it is about them shooting against our man-to-man defense, but they played great against us. The zone helped us, and they didn’t shoot as well towards the end of the game. It was a good call by Coach (Brey).”

On Monday’s game against Pittsburgh… “They’ve proven themselves to be a really tough team. I think we will be excited for it, but they are definitely ready for us. It should be a good game.”

Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams

Opening Statement… “Notre Dame is a really good team; Mike Brey is one of the best human beings in our profession. They played extremely well. I thought we played well in the first half. It’s impossible to overcome, regardless of locale, 22 free throw attempts in the second half, which was the same number of field goal attempts. And I know the last 1:40 we were fouling on purpose, so I’ll give them those six, but you can’t do that. When 35% of your points are derived from the free throw line, you’ll win a national championship. You can’t win, you can’t win.”

On losing the game in the second half… “We had more paint touches in the second half than we did in the first. We had more paint touches here, than we did there. And I know at our place we were 12 of 17 from 3, but tonight we were 10 of 20 from three, which for some non-shooters to shoot 50%, that’s pretty good. But I thought they geared us down, and I thought that if we had more paint touches in the second than we did in the first, then its not necessarily that we’re playing inside out, it was that those shots that we were getting on the inside, we didn’t finish. We missed too many bunnies.”

On Ben Hansbrough “I think he’s one of the best players in the country. He plays with a high motor, I think he’s extremely competitive, moves without the ball as well as anyone in the country, and his shot is part of the pass. So when he’s coming off the screen, it’s all one motion. It’s not like he’s going to catch it, then square up; it’s not like you and me playing.”

Marquette Players

Jimmy Butler – Senior – Forward

On his inability to make plays down the stretch… “It was my mentality. I was going up strong enough and expecting a lot more contact than I got. But the fact of the matter is I have to be one of the main guys on the team hitting shots, and I didn’t do that. I wasn’t aggressive enough and I didn’t put the ball in the basket enough to help my team.”

On Notre Dame’s switch to a zone defense in the second half… “We became very stagnant as a team and settled for a lot of jumpers. I think a lot of this has to do with myself because I wasn’t attacking. I started passing the ball on the perimeter instead of getting into the gaps.”

On the incapacity to close out games… “First off, we need to learn how to finish. We have to come out in the second half the way we started the game. We need to play the entire 40 minutes and rely more on defense instead of offense. If we do that, everything else will start to turn around for us.”

On the play on Irish guard Ben Hansbrough “He is a really good player and we didn’t lock in on him like we did when they played at our place. He converted too many easy baskets.”