March 15, 2013

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Notre Dame Quotes

Head Coach Mike Brey

Opening remarks…

What a great college game. I’m really proud of our group. I thought we were men the whole night. The game didn’t start really well for us, but we fought back. Two good teams going at it. They made another run, and we fought out of it. We made such big plays at key times, and everybody had a hand in it.

We’re thrilled to be playing in our fourth straight semifinal. I know no one else in the league has done that. We wonder what it would be like to play on Saturday because our program has never played there.

What was the difference tonight? Same sort of start as Milwaukee 12 days ago, and you guys were able to bounce back tonight.

I thought we were able to get our defense going. We got some stops. We play a little zone and turned it over. They turned it over 11 times in the first half. We went back to man to man and did a good job getting stops. That gave us some confidence again and slowed them down. We got some things in transition. To be up four after being down 17 4, I’m ready to have a parade at halftime. We’re in great shape.

Even last night, there’s been a different kind of poise about us than the regular season when Rutgers made those runs. There was no panic. There really wasn’t any panic. As a matter of fact, in the huddles when it was 17 4, Connaughton kept saying, it’s just like the Pitt game. So I’m really proud of our group.

Have you ever had four big men where you could just … it’s like every other night you press a different button, and it works for you.
And everybody at times tonight was the fourth big man in my mind. Throughout the night, they became the first big man again. Jack Cooley, I’m really proud of him because it wasn’t a real good night, but he kept trying, and he kept plugging, and he made some big, big plays for us.

Garrick Sherman was fabulous. I think we found another weapon here in March. Tom Knight, Zach. Maybe it wasn’t as much a night for Zach, but you know what, tomorrow night could be. It’s a great luxury to have all four of those guys.

Marquette was second in the Big East in free throw rate coming in. You guys kept them off the line a lot. Was that something you focused on?
That’s really who we are. When we’re in our rhythm, we don’t foul a lot. We play our position without fouling. We’re a defensive team. We’re not gambling. We’re not trapping. I thought we were able to do that. We weren’t able to do it in Milwaukee, but we were tonight.

What do you guys think of the uniforms?

We’re 1-0 in green and 1-0 in white. They’re pretty good so far.

What about facing Louisville again?

Here we go again. When the games have been in overtime, that’s when we’ve gotten our wins. When they’ve one, they’ve usually thumped us. I hope it’s overtime. They’re really good. We just played them last Saturday, and they’re playing with a great rhythm, and it comes down to taking care of the ball.

We took care of the ball last Saturday, but their half court defense is so good, it was so hard to get a good shot that many of the shots we took were turnovers because it was a struggle to get a good shot. That’s where we’re going to have to really work. First we’ve got to get through the wave. Last year in the semis, they turned us over in the first half and kind of broke us. So you got to get through that wave.

We’ve got to really control tempo, and against … you know, we’ve got to shoot it well. We didn’t shoot it well. We shot it well here two nights. You’ve got to shoot over the top of their defense a little bit.

Just from a basketball fan standpoint, this is the last Big East Tournament. You’ve got Syracuse, Georgetown on one side, and you guys and Louisville produced the best game of the year so far. Is it fun to be a part of these four teams?

Unbelievable. I was talking to our staff at breakfast this morning, look at the matchups today. They blow away any other league. Are you kidding me? Just the sounds of the matchups, and then certainly tomorrow night, I just told our guys, I said, coming out on Friday night for the semifinal game, we’ve been … this is our fourth time. It’s electric.

I know it’s the last time, and we’re trying to get our money’s worth out of this thing.

Jerian Grant

How did you guys process what you were going through at the start and not let it get really bad?

Coach just challenged us. He even asked us if we were scared and we took that personally. The guys came out and said either you play now or go home, and we weren’t ready to go home.

Pat Connaughton

How did you guys process what you were going through at the start and not let it get really bad?

It was actually a good thing that we had been there before at Pitt and been able to fight back from it. That’s really why we had so much confidence coming out of the huddles and going down towards halftime.

It’s something we just wanted to cut into the lead piece by piece. Coach said we’re not going to tie this thing right away. It’s going to be a process, and that’s something that we kind of figured out how to do, and that’s what we got done by halftime.

What do you guys think of the uniforms?

Love them. We’re going to keep winning, we’ve got to love them.

Garrick Sherman

Garrick, what is it about the big man rotation? Looks like all four of you guys can take the load for a while.

Whatever it is, we’re just trying to make sure we’re on the floor doing our job. We’re always ready to go. Everyone has their role, and tonight is one of the nights I had to step up.

Marquette Quotes

Head Coach Buzz Williams

Buzz, it looks like it got away from you a little bit when they called that third foul on Vander.

I thought it was a critical play in the game.

Coach Brey said after the game last night he challenged his four big men to perform like they did in Milwaukee. Do you think that was the key to the game?

I thought they did great. I think it was 48 50 with 7:03 to play. Of the next 11 points, they scored 7 of them on offensive rebounds, and then the call that Michael just mentioned. I think they had two more offensive rebounds from that point. I thought those guys were great.

What was the difference of turnovers in the first half and then in the second half?

I think when you get embarrassed on national TV with 11 turnovers against a team that doesn’t press, you hope that you respond in a much more positive way, and I thought our guys did.

What’s your expectations now, Buzz? You go home and wait on selection Sunday.

We’ll go home at some point tomorrow. We’ll practice before the selection show. Try to figure out last year we didn’t know who we were going to play. Hopefully, on Sunday we’ll find out who and where and when we play.

Either practice Monday and Tuesday and leave, I would assume, is probably what it will be. Our kids will be back in school. So they’ll go to school on Monday, probably practice Tuesday morning, go to school Tuesday, and then leave, I would assume unless we’re playing on Friday.

Your expectations would be?

Win one more game and then win another one. We have to be a lot better than we were today.

Buzz, do you use this game as consistent motivating tool over the next few days, or will you review tomorrow and do your best to get the team move forward ahead and put this in the rear view?

Yeah, we need to learn from our offensive inadequacies from the first half. I mean, we shot 60 percent, but we turned it over 11 times. Our turnover rate was way too high. Our points per possession were much better in the second half just because we didn’t turn it over as much. But we have to learn from it.

The season isn’t over. This part of the season is over, but we need to learn from it and grow from it and then flush it out and begin to prepare for whoever we’re going to play next week.

Do you have a different feeling now with this team as opposed to other ones where you’ve left the Big East Tournament in the past and headed into the NCAA with a loss?

The last time we got beat, we handled it pretty good, which was last year. And then oh, I can’t remember. I can’t remember what happened two years ago. Won one, lost one. And then three years ago, won two, lost one. And then four years ago, won two, lost one. I think that’s what it was.

Coach, what was the biggest difference between today’s game and the game in Milwaukee earlier in the season?

Cooley was much more involved. Connaughton … how many balls did he shoot, ten? … He made six? That’s pretty impressive. Last night, did he make six or seven?

Six? I don’t know that he took one dribble. That’s really good. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I mean, somebody else created a shot for him. That means you were in rotation, and he was standing there, and he made 6 out of 10 balls, and he did the same thing last night.

That’s the thing. You have to guard the ball screens with Atkins and Grant, and it puts you in rotation because Cooley and Knight, Sherman and Zach are all rolling. So now your guards have to absorb, and then Connaughton is standing out there waiting on somebody to pass him the ball.

So if he does it on the four that he missed, how about they rebounded two of them, and they probably scored both of them. They had 17 offensive rebounds at our place. And they had 12 tonight. We held them to 40 percent from the field, but they also got 30 percent of their points from the free throw line, which is atypical for a Notre Dame team.

And then tonight for us, we scored 15 percent, and we’re not built like that. We played 39 minutes until we got into the bonus. That’s not good for us.

When Davante was in the game, did you want to go back to Chris?

I did, and he whipped Chris. Then I went to Davante, and he whipped Davante. We were trying to tag team him, and he just kept knocking us out.