Jan. 30, 2002
Head Coach Mike Brey Quotes
On the progression of the game . . .
“We’ll take that first half. That was our best half of basketball. I thought we were great. We moved the ball and we attacked. I thought the key was Chris (Thomas) really got us running. I thought we had to get some easy baskets and he got inside the arc and broke their defense down. I think we had 13 assists at halftime, which is pretty good. I almost expected the style of the second half. It was physical. They pressed and banged us around. I didn’t think we handled their pressure well all the time. But we did what we needed to do. That is a great win for us. We needed this tonight.”
On Irish individual performances . . .
“I thought everybody that played tonight gave us something. It was so good to see Harold Swanagan back. He gave us a great lift. But even though he came back, Tom Timmermans and Jordan Cornette didn’t let down. We still need them to give us good minutes. Ryan (Humphrey) was solid, as was Torrian Jones. I just like the rotation we have now.”
On winning two straight after a losing streak . . . “We realized we played some pretty good basketball teams after our three-game road trip. I wasn’t down on our guys and neither was our staff. We have a lot to work with here. We hoped we could get a win against Seton Hall and we did. We didn’t play well in the first half, but we played a better second half. I thought we played very well tonight.”
On the significance of the win . . .
“This (Pittsburgh) is a very good basketball team. They are a physical team and they are a great team. There is still a lot of basketball to be played. We are excited tonight, but there isn’t going to be any partying, just as a week ago, we weren’t jumping off a building. We try to stay even-keel, build on this and get over to Seton Hall.”
On the play of the young post players . . .
“We are certainly very happy with Tom Timmermans now that he is healthy and is getting better. Jordan Cornette is getting more confidence and is becoming a defensive stopper for us.”
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Guard Matt Carroll on the game…
“It was one of those games where things were clicking on offense. We haven’t had too many games where we came out and all five guys on the court were shooting the ball well and moving the ball around on offense. I thought we distributed the ball well. We rehearsed it a lot and concentrated on it in practice.”
Carroll on beating Pitt twice…
“Pitt’s a tough team, but being at home gives you confidence in the second half. They’ve beaten a lot of teams that we haven’t beaten, but for some reason the last two games we’ve played well against them.”
Guard Chris Thomas on Notre Dame’s play…
“As a point guard, you are always excited to see your shooters making big shots and your post players finishing down low. But I don’t think it was that our offense was clicking so much as it was our defense stops that got it going. We got easy buckets and we had chances in transition.”
Thomas on Notre Dame’s future…
“We’ve just got to take each game one at a time. We had a stretch where we lost three in a row at home. We were thinking about it a lot, and we didn’t handle business on the fourth because we were worried about our record and the tournament. So if we just take care of business, we will continue to win. We control our own destiny, and we’re excited about that because we feel we can do a good job and come out on top.”
Forward Harold Swanagan on his ankle…
“(My ankle) is not quite a 100 percent right now, but when you are in a game situation in the heat of battle, you tend not to feel anything. The team needed me out there tonight, and I just came in and did what I had to do to help them out.”
Forward David Graves on the team…
“It was a lot of fun to go out there and play. Our problems haven’t been defensive, we’ve been great defensively. We’ve just had trouble putting the ball in the hole. Chris did a good job passing in transition and getting everybody involved. When we do that, and we screen and look for each other to make the nice pass, we’re tough to beat because we get open looks and we make them. It’s good to have a game after we’ve had a stretch where we struggled.”
Center Ryan Humphrey on Harold Swanagan…
“It was great. I felt fresher. Harold and I play off of each other. We look for each other for the little passes. And just his presence, we feed off of him as a team. I’m not taking anything away from anyone else, but Harold knows what he needs to do and he does it everyday.”
Humphrey on Chris Thomas…
“Chris came in with a lot of accolades and he never let it get to his head. He’s been doing what he’s been asked to do, which is lead the team and get the ball to where it needs to be. Chris is one of the best point guards I’ve played with, and night after night he has to face up against the best point guards in the BIG EAST.”
Pittsburgh Head Coach Ben Howland Quotes
On the game . . .
“They (Notre Dame) played really well. We played poorly at both ends of the floor, but that had a lot to do with their play. They defended us well and came out on fire. Any time you allow a team to shoot over 66 percent from the field, you are probably not going to win those games. We have won 18 games this year playing good defense and rebounding. Tonight was the second time we have been beaten on the boards. If we are going to continue on at the pace we have set for ourselves, we are going to have to continue playing good defense and out-rebounding our opponents.”
On why Pittsburgh did not have early success . . .
“We did get a lay-up on the first play of the game. We also got the ball inside the first two minutes of the game. It is not like we turned the ball over much either, only committing 11 turnovers. You need to give Notre Dame a lot of credit. They have everyone back except Troy Murphy and they added another good player in Chris Thomas. This is really a good team, they have been there before. They will be a good team in the (NCAA) tournament.”
On Pittsburgh’s second half play . . .
“Our guys showed a lot of heart out there. To be able to stay in the game and play the way they did after such a large halftime deficit. I am proud of that fact. We fought back and that is something we need to build on.”
On losing to Notre Dame twice this season . . .
“Tonight, they shot the ball well and they played us tough defensively like they did in the first game. The first time we played them, they played well, but it really had a lot to do with our inability to stop them down the stretch. We had three chances in the last five minutes to put them away and they came back on us. They are good, though, and that is the bottom line.”
Pittsburgh Player Quotes
Guard Brandin Knight on his impression of the game…
“In the first half I did not get too many good looks. For the night, I didn’t get too many good chances. Defensively, they played well. Anytime a team shoots 67 percent in the first half and 66 percent in the second half, it is going to be very hard to beat them.”
Knight on Notre Dame freshman guard Chris Thomas…
“For Notre Dame’s program, he is very promising. He had eight assists. He was making shots. He was hitting open shots. He is a good player, if not one of the best point guards in the BIG EAST. He has a great bunch of guys around him, and he plays well with them. He doesn’t try to do too much.”
Knight on the second half Pittsburgh run and difference in the contest…
“We just picked up our defense in the second half. Although they shot well, we forced some turnovers. We got a couple easy baskets, as opposed to the first-half where we were very flat. That was the difference. We dug ourselves the hole early and we couldn’t make up the difference in a half.”