Feb. 9, 2003
Mike Brey Postgame Quotes
On the game . . .
“I’m very proud of our team. We beat a very good basketball team today. Everyone knows that Pittsburgh is very experienced and well coached. They are a great defensive team, and I’m very proud of our guys because we never gave up.”
“They only scored 23 points in the second half. We had a hard time guarding them in the first half. They really shot the three-point shot in the first half, and I really was not expecting that. It’s not what their percentages said, but sometimes you just have to throw percentages out. We did a good job playing the zone, got the score to within two points, and that helped us get them out of their rhythm in their man-to-man. We had a lot of plays on the offensive end by different guys.”
“There was no doubt what we were going to do there at the end. We were going to take that ball down and go overtime or win it at the end. I thought we did a great job defending them out-of-bounds. If you remember a week ago against Syracuse, [Pittsburgh] completed that pass, and Brandin Knight threw it in. Tom [Timmermans] did a good job on the ball, but we put Jordan Cornette in because he has to be the best deflection guy around, and he could come up and make that play.”
“We challenged them. We got the ball and made better decisions, and I think we took a big step forward. Chris [Thomas] is starting to improve. He’s a young, very talented guard, and you can think about his play at the end and the three-point shot he hit. He’s a big-time winner, and he makes the rest of our group follow along.”
On the crowd…
“I want to comment right off the bat about [the crowd]. Our crowd was fabulous. We have three home games left, and we need you out there.”
On Tom Timmermans…
“W e needed to be bigger. Tom played 23 minutes and scored 6 points, and was great physically, and he changed a lot of the shots there.”
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Senior guard Matt Carroll
On turning the game around…
“Coach Brey makes us understand that there is a lot of game to be played, especially when it is the first couple of minutes of the second half, anything can happen. We can put some points up quickly, and since we played good defense, especially in the second half, that was the turning point in the game.”
Sophomore guard Chris Thomas
On how he feels in the final seconds…
“I feel confident, comfortable, and anxious. That is why you come to great places like this. That is why you play in the Big East, because the games always come down to the wire.”
On teammate Torin Francis…
“He is the type of person that can change a game, with his presence and maturity as a freshman. You cannot say that about a lot of people.”
On the final sequence…
“It was a great opportunity, that is the most I can say. Torin had a better shot than I did. Brandin Knight was saying ‘this is the way it is supposed to be.’ He is the leader on his team, and I am the leader on my team. It was just a great chance to get revenge against him. It was great for our team to come out on top and for our fans to rush the floor.”
Ben Howland Postgame Quotes
On the loss. . .
“It’s a very tough loss for us, against a very good team and in a great atmosphere. We’re disappointed to have had the lead in our past two road games and let them slip away from us. We had a 10-point lead early in the second half, but they came back.”
On Pittsburgh’s offense. . .
“We had some good looks and we missed some open shots from the perimeter, which is unfortunate. Ontario Lett had some tough in-and-out shots inside, but you have to give Notre Dame credit. They did a great job defensively.”
On guard Brandin Knight’s play…
“Brandin Knight is in a tough situation, he’s playing with a sprained ankle. He hasn’t been able to practice for 11 or 12 days. The minutes he gives us are so important, and I thought his foul trouble hurt us today.”
On Notre Dame’s last offensive play…
“I think that was the same play they ran at the end of the Boston College game. In that game, though, Chris Thomas couldn’t make the pass inside and they went into overtime. We let Torin Francis cut in front of us and that was a great post play by him. It was unfortunate for us, but you have to give him credit.”
Pittsburgh Player Quotes
Junior guard Julius Page:
On the second-half . . .
“We have to suck it up and know that we’re on somebody else’s home court. We have to know that they’re going to come out stronger than they did the first time. We have to maintain our focus and can’t let them get back in the game, which sometimes happens to us.”
On Notre Dame’s efficiency from behind the three-point arc . . .
“The main thing I said in the lockerroom was that we can’t let them come out sinking three’s. They started hitting three’s and gained confidence. It was going to be a tough game. On the road, most of the time you’re going to lose those games.”
On second-half rebounding edge . . .
“That was the key right there. We were looking at the same stat at halftime. They knew that if they were going to come back they would have to out-rebound us, and it happened. We allowed that to happen by not being as aggressive as we were in the first-half.”
On Notre Dame’s final shot. . .
“[Torin Francis] had position. You can’t fault anybody for that. Thomas got some penetration and the ball on the inside. [Francis] is a good player and when you are that close to the basket, it is not that hard for anybody to score. I would rather see him get fouled and go to the line and end the game than make a lay-up like that.”
On containing Notre Dame guard Matt Carroll . . .
“I just tried to be in his face. I didn’t want him to get a look because if he gets any room, he’s going to make the shot. We had to find him. He leaked out a couple times and got some open looks and almost hurt us, but we knew that we had to tighten up on him. Certain people can’t touch the ball at all, and he’s one of those players.”
Senior guard Brandin Knight:
On the game . . .
“We gave one away, it is as simple as that. Today I just didn’t make shots and I’m a big part of the reason why we lost. I had some open looks and I didn’t capitalize on them.”
On conversation with Chris Thomas during final possession . . .
“When we were taking the ball out and I told him that he cheated because he was supposed to take the shot, we were talking about him taking the shot. He was just saying it was ‘me and you,’ and he cheated in the past.”