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2009 Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
Notre Dame vs. Villanova
Monday, March 2, 2009 * Joyce Center * Notre Dame Indiana

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

On play of Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds…
“He’s a great player. The two three’s; he hit really jump-started them. Then we had a really hard time scoring against them defensively. Their quickness bothered us. 15 turnovers, that’s a little uncharacteristic for us.”

On mindset of the team after the loss…
“I told them that they are playing for pride on senior day. We have four seniors that have meant a lot to our basketball program and we want to honor them the right way on Friday night and see if you can beat a team who beat you earlier in the year. Real simple, real cut and dry; try to bounce back and play well for these four seniors on Friday against a team that beat us earlier in the year.”

On how the team digests the setback…
“I would say it is frustrating because you had two opportunities on Saturday and Monday to get a quality win and we didn’t get it. The disappointing thing is that we played really well Saturday but we didn’t play as well tonight. Some of that was our doing but a lot of it was Villanova’s doing. They’re really a good team and they’re a tricky matchup for us with the guard oriented stuff and the speed. We need a little bit of a rest physically and then you have to get your legs back to play on Friday night and try and come back and win a basketball game and then head to New York. As I said there is a post-season for this team; we’ll see what it is but right now let’s get Zach (Hillesland) healthy and see if we can play better on Friday against a team that’s playing pretty well. St. John’s is playing pretty well.”

On getting the team back focused on the regular season finale…
“I don’t worry about it. The guys are really disappointed and they’re down but if you got them back after losing seven in a row in January and they hung in there and made a little run at this thing and made it interesting. I have full confidence after some time to decompress a little bit that they’ll be ready to play on Friday, and for the seniors to go out on a good note.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Luke Harangody, Jr., Forward
On tonight’s game…
“For them to come in here and beat us at home it is very big. We just have to bounce back and keep playing and play for some pride.”

On the status of the teams’ goals…
“Same goals. We just have to keep fighting. We have to move on and play the next game Friday night. We have to play for these seniors. Hopefully we will have a good crowd here. They have meant so much to this program over the years and I’d like to see this place packed.”

On the teams’ expectations…
“We are still going to fight for another game. That is what this team has done all season.”

Tory Jackson, Jr., Guard
On tonight’s game…
“It’s very tough; it’s hard to swallow. I feel sad for the seniors. I want them to make it at least one more time. Right now, the NCAA will take care of itself. We just want to send the seniors out on a good note in the regular season. We let it slip away tonight and now we need to get the seniors a win on Friday.”

On the NCAA Tournament…
“To tell you the truth, we still are not worried about it right now. We have one more game Friday and then the BIG EAST Tournament, so we will see what happen.”

On the team’s 15 turnovers…
“They made us play a lot faster than we are used to. They are a good team defensively and their big men can defend well. They are very, very scrappy, so I give a lot of credit to them.”

On Villanova’s defense…
“They are small, they do a lot of switching, so there is always somebody on you. They switch on screens, and their forwards can defend guards. A lot of other teams don’t have the ability and size to do that. They did a good job of getting up on us and staying in front of us. “

Tyrone Nash, So., F
On Notre Dame’s losing record …
“We need to just keep playing hard. We need to work the boards. We’re definitely going to stay focused. You never know. We’ll just take care of business. It’s tough. We hate to lose. We have one game left, senior day. We’re going for the win, then we’re going to New York.”

On his first home start…
“Coach (Brey) wanted to give me a chance. I just tried to help the guys, get some rebounds, take those extra shots, tried to get us going. We didn’t do what we needed to do in the second half. I didn’t shoot as well in the second half.”

Ryan Ayers, Sr., G
On Notre Dame’s recent struggles to win at home…
“We play so well traditionally on this home floor and it’s tough not to come out with a victory. Tonight, we didn’t play the type of style we wanted to play. Teams are coming in with a lot of confidence in here. I think we were 23-2 at home the last three years. Teams have gotten us outside our comfort zone here, and that’s why we’ve been losing.”

On Notre Dame’s weaknesses against Villanova…
“We didn’t defend as well as we wanted to. They really beat us on the defensive end. They played really well. They got us out of our comfort zone offensively. They outplayed us in that six-minute stretch in the second half.”

On accepting the reality that Notre Dame’s record will likely prevent them from having a productive post-season…
“Anything can happen. We will come out with pride and play with heart on Friday against St. John’s. It’s going to be Senior Day so it’s going to be special. If it takes an unprecedented run in New York to get us to the NCAA tournament, if that’s what it takes, I guess we’ll do it. We’ll try to change things and get better. We have to stay positive, get everyone’s spirits back up.”

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright

On the play of Villanova…
“That was the best defensive game we played all year. They are an outstanding offensive team and preparing for them is so difficult. We have a lot of respect for them. For us to defend them like that is the best performance we have had in a long time, defensively. Our seniors really stepped up.”

On playing after a loss…
“It is all our seniors. They never quit. They always come back. This group has always done it. Coming into this game, I didn’t know how we were going to play. We are coming off a tough game and Notre Dame played a great game against Connecticut.”

On the play of Villanova Junior guard Scottie Reynolds…
“I thought he played one of his best games as a point guard all year. He controlled the game. Five assists and one turnover with 23 points, that tells it all. That is as good a game as he has played running the show.”

Villanova Player Quotes

Shane Clark, Sr., F
On staying focused on the game at hand…
“We’ve never been a group to look ahead. We go out every game and play our best, and at the end of the year, we see how far we got.”

On winning at the Joyce Center…
“(Notre Dame) is a great team, and they always will be. To come in here and play a lot better than we did last game (versus Georgetown) was huge for us.”

On the keys to Villanova’s big second half runs…
“We just kept getting stop after stop. If they hit a three, we tried to come down and be aggressive, and then if they started to come back, we just tried to get another stop.”

On the play of junior guard Scottie Reynolds…
“He’s our man. We always count on him to be our aggressive scorer.”

Scottie Reynolds, Jr., G
On bouncing back after the home loss to Georgetown…
“It feels unbelievable. We took a lot of positives from the Georgetown game with us and also learned from the negatives. We put it together tonight. Notre Dame did a great job in the first half of hitting shots and matching our energy, but at the end of the game we found a way to put it away.”

On his own play in the game…
“I was just being patient, reading the defense a lot better, and playing at ease. I was doing a lot of things tonight, like rebounding and passing, and it just opened things up for everyone else.”

On the second half runs…
“It was just getting stops. That was what we kept saying on the bench. We’ve been in that situation before, being tied or down in the second half.”

Dante Cunningham, Sr., F
On the team’s defensive play…
“We understood their personnel well. We took the time to study every little detail. We were on top of things, and it felt like we were always moving on defense.”

On increasing the lead in the second half…
“We did a great job of getting good shots and taking care of the ball. I tried to take it in and look for my shot in the second half more as well.”