Dec. 19, 2009

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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
Notre Dame vs. UCLA
December 19, 2009
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

On today’s crowd and the atmosphere of Purcell Pavilion…

“The crowd was great. I was interested to see what this place would be like with the first big-game atmosphere. It was awesome. I was excited about that and I think the guys were excited about that. We played anxious early, but our sixth man, the crowd, helped us get it done today. They (UCLA) are a good basketball team, we did some fearless stuff and some mature stuff and we figured out a way to win. I think we defended pretty well and we were more efficient offensively about getting guys involved. We played pretty smart the last seven minutes. It was something to build on. We are trying to figure out our identity. “

On the team’s adjustments and Jonathan People’s play…

Jonathan Peoples gave us some great minutes off the bench. Tyrone Nash did a good job on the backboard. We put Tory Jackson on Michael Roll who was hurting us a little bit. Jon (Peoples) made some shots and defended well for us. “

On Tim Abromaitis’ first big-time game…

“We rode him in the second half. I was excited to see how he would respond in his first big game. It was really his first game under the bright lights. The first half didn’t go so well, but he came back in the second half and made some big plays. He hit some big shots and got some big rebounds for us. He can be such a weapon for us. He makes big plays. He played 33 minutes and that is a big step for him. “

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Luke Harangody • Senior • Forward

On staying humble…

“I think it has a lot to do with going home where everyone just treats me like Luke Harangody, no one special. That’s what’s nice about going home and being with all the people I know.”

On defeating UCLA…

“This is a huge win for us. We’re coming off of a tough loss last weekend, and we had a lot of guys come out and have huge games for us. We’re developing. I struggled a bit in the first half. I got in the lane and went up soft a couple of times, and a couple of times on defense I got a little lost, but I came out ready to play in the second half. I think everybody gave us a lift. Jonathan [Peoples] really gave me a lift, he played awesome and really made up for me.”

Ben Hansbrough • Senior • Guard

On defeating UCLA…

“You know we came off of a tough loss against Loyola (Marymount). UCLA came out and jumped on us a little bit and we really responded well. This was one of the biggest drives of this team yet. UCLA, I don’t care what their record is, they’ve got a heck of a team, they’ve got some great players and they’re going to be good down the road. I just think tonight was one of the biggest drives of our team as far as toughness goes.”

On controlling the second half and making some big shots…

“Teams are going to go on spurts and you have to be ready for that, and we had a lot of guys hit some big shots. Tim Abromaitis came in and made some big, big shots. (Luke) Harangody came in and made some big shots. We just made big shots when we needed to.”

Tim Abromaitis • Junior • Forward

On having a week to prepare for UCLA…

“I think we were ready to get out there. We’ve had a bad taste in our mouths all week (after the loss to Loyola Marymount). We wanted to go out and show that we could still play and have a presence.”

On adjusting his play in the second half…

“We were walking out to start the second half and coach pulled me aside and said, `Tim, you’re playing great, just have fun out there.’ I don’t know if I was more loose in the second half, but I just felt comfortable out there.”

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland

Opening statement…

“We got off to a good start and Notre Dame started to tighten down a little bit. Their three-point shooters were really tough to guard, I think they shot over fifty percent. They are a very good team. I think they are a team who is going to go to the NCAA tournament. Our schedule is as tough as it has been since I started here at UCLA. I am impressed with Notre Dame’s team, though. You have to give them credit for taking the lead at the end of the half. I thought the first five minutes of the second half were really the key juncture. We took a couple of bad shots and we have to continue to learn that when you start to get down you have to be able to trust yourself and not take a bad shot. We had a couple of bad shots during the first four minutes of the second half and those led to more points for them and then we were fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way.”

On Luke Harangody’s performance…

“I was glad our guys competed but I was disappointed in that we cut the lead to six with 55 seconds to go and then Harangody sneaked out and got a lay up. He is a great player, there is no question that he is one of he finest players in the country and I have great respect for him. We watched a lot of film from their games and he is a special player. He is kind of a once in a lifetime kind of guy here at Notre Dame. He will end up being the leading scorer in the history of Notre Dame, that’s an impressive statement right there. For me, it is good to see a guy come back for his senior year. I think he made the right decision for him to not try early entry into the NBA. He will be there in a year from now and made a smart decision.”

UCLA Player Quotes

Malcolm Lee • Sophomore • Guard

On the performance in the second half…

“We had a little momentum but not full momentum. Coach said at the first timeout that we were panicking.”

On what the team could have done differently in the game…

“Defensively we could have blocked out better. We had a lot of breakdowns on the dribbling side too. We just could have played better on defense altogether.”

Reeves Nelson • Freshman • Forward

On his injury…
“I had a bloody nose and put some ice on it for a little bit. It’s stopped now though. I’m not really sure how it happened.”

On playing against Luke Harangody

“You just have to pay attention to him a lot because he’s a really good scorer. He knows how to put the ball in the basket in a lot of ways.”

Michael Roll • Senior • Guard

On playing against Luke Harangody

“He’s just a good player. He has a wide variety of moves. He does the spin moves. He’s got the leaners and the floaters, just everything.”