Nov. 16, 2009

Recap | Box Score | Notes

Notre Dame Men’s Basketball
vs. St. Francis
November 16, 2009
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center – Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

On the success of Notre Dame tonight…
“It was really tough. [St. Francis] really shot the ball well, made some big shots. Some were when we didn’t defend well and some were when we did. Fortunately, we were pretty efficient offensively because tonight was one of those nights where we were going to have to score to get out of here. I thought we moved the ball well and defended when we had to. “

On the play of Tim Abromaitis
“Tonight I heard Miller, Graves, and Carroll, and I think it’s a very fair comparison. Obviously all three of those guys were great players for us. I think what you have seen in the last two games is a guy getting more confident, more comfortable. He was in there really at crunch time and made some great defensive plays. He is getting to be more confident and we really need him to be more confident, and he has a chance to be very good for us.”

On the play of Tyrone Nash
“I thought he did a great job shaking off some foul trouble. This is new territory for him playing this many minutes starting. He had some foul trouble, we got him out, but I thought he was good defensively, and then we wanted him to score. We wanted to throw it to him in the post, so I think for him he really concentrated well.

On the play of Ben Hansbrough and Tory Jackson
“Well those two guys are warriors. Tory Jackson has been playing as good as any point guard in the country. He is just so strong, not forcing the play with bad passes. He had nine assists, nine points and no turnovers and is completely orchestrating who we are. Ben continues to get comfortable, and we’re going to get him to score. As you can see he makes plays.”

On guarding against fatigue with the next five games in 11 days…
“We’ve got a lot ahead of us and we have to be careful about practice length and what you do to refresh during those two days. The one thing about Thursday is that we need our crowd to be in BIG EAST mode because [Long Beach State] called us for the game. They figured they could come in and get us, which is great. It’s a great challenge for us. We have to be careful about how we practice, because we have another game coming Sunday and another one Tuesday. But this is good; I think we are really learning a lot.”

Notre Dame Players

Ben Hansbrough – Sr. – G

What about the performance of St. Francis today?
“They made a lot of shots, and they’re a good team. They made some good plays, and you know, this is their Super Bowl. Coming in and playing against Notre Dame as a smaller program, you know they’ll do some crazy things to win. They went what, 68% from the three-point line? That’s a heck of a game.”

And on the flip side, what busted it open for you guys?
“We got a couple of defensive stops and plays.”

Did size play a factor?
“Absolutely, I don’t believe this team had a guy bigger than 6’6” or 6’7”. Coach told us to throw it in the post, we want Luke (Harangody) touching it, Ty (Nash) touching it. Even Tim Abromaitis got in there. He’s a 6’7” wing-man and got in there and did what he had to do.”

What about all the options you have defensively? (in regards to Tim Abromaitis)
Tim Abromaitis is a big guy out there to make some shots, get out there offensively, and make some big rebounds. It has really helped us out unbelievably.”

And for Thursday against Long Beach State?
“We can’t be asleep for this game. We have to come out there ready to play.”

Luke Harangody – Sr. – F

About Saint Francis …
“They shot a lot and played tough tonight, and they deserve a lot of credit. You know they kept themselves in the game the whole time.”

You kept control, but were not able to put it away till the end.
“We were looking to, and you know I think that it is something that we need to learn as a team. Some teams just won’t go away and you have to end at some point and get up by 20. You can’t be hurting the whole game, so we need to learn how to do that.”

“We were pretty upset about how we ended the first half, so we knew we had to come out strong, and we gave it that push.”

Tim Abromaitis – Jr. F

How do you feel out there, contributing big time?
“It felt good. I felt composed today.”

How much easier was it tonight getting a full game in?
“There is definitely a comfort level I have out there now. The guys on the team have been confident in me the whole year and the coaches too, so I’ve been working to get ready for this game, and I’m excited to have to opportunity to really get out there.”

From these two games what do you see in terms of your team coming together in this new-look, Irish program?
“I think we have a lot of scoring opportunities there. Obviously you have not yet seen Ben (Hansbrough) and Carleton (Scott) out there, but they’re going to have a lot to add to this team. We have to work on defense out there too. They got a lot of easy looks out there and were driving on us a lot, but I think we are excited about what we can accomplish.”

Tory Jackson – Sr. – G

They shot 68% from the three-point line. Is that them or something defensive that you have to work on?
“I think that it was 50/50. A lot of those shots we did not have our hands up. They lined up a lot of shots. They got a lot of open shots. A lot of that was on us.”

Where do you guys stand through two games?
“We’ve done a good job right now continuing to get better. I’m happy with our progress game by game. I’m not saying that we’re close to that perfect team, because we’ve got a lot to work on, but that’s good for us, because we have time to get better and prepare for the next team to face.”

On Long Beach State coming in on Thursday …
“That just gives us another chance to prove ourselves. We have two days to progress to them. I know that we’ve done a great job staying focused, and we need to keep our head in it. Like you said, they’re a great team, and you need to be prepared.”

St. Francis Head Coach Don Friday

Opening Statement…
“First off, I would like to say that we’ve been in South Bend for the past 24 hours. I think the people in this area, this part of the country, are just awesome. I understand why this is such a special place.”

“Notre Dame, their physicality is really, really good. (Luke) Harangody is as good as advertised as we all know. I have a young team, and we’re in a program that we’re in the process of rebuilding. Coming in here, we wanted to take our small Catholic school from Pennsylvania and play the pre-eminent Catholic school in the world, the prestigious University of Notre Dame, and I’m proud of our kids. (Luke) Harangody is as good as advertised, but (Luke) Harangody lets you play with him. (Tim) Abromaitis makes you pay. (Ben) Hansbrough makes you pay when you try to take things away from them. That’s a sign that there’s great players and there’s special players that do those things, and there’s no answer for that. Talking about my program and my young kids, I’m proud of the fact that we came in here – I thought we played fearless. Us coming out of here was a positive, we executed some things, but when you throw the physicality into it and the reality into it. The emphasis has always been that the weight room just got a little more important. They got an internship tonight on physicality 101. We will get in the weight room. I just don’t know if we can find a (Luke) Harangody. I don’t know if we have those in Pennsylvania.”

On playing a BIG EAST team…
“The thing I am pleased with is that I thought our kids fought to the end. We battled, we executed, we tried to get the ball to kids in the right spots. The other thing is, I have a freshman named Will Felder. He had 17 points and I think he’s pretty good player. Tonight Notre Dame knew about him, and he isn’t sneaking up on anybody anymore. The next level for us, we’ve got to go out, we’ve got to execute, and we have to be even more perfect in getting into spots where we can score. It’s a learning experience for us, but it’s a good one. We’re not going to beat our kids up, but we’re going to build our kids up, and we’re going to learn from it.”