Jan. 6, 2002

Recap?|? Box Score

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey Quotes

On Villanova’s defense…
“Villanova was ready to play. Their quickness bothered us offensively on the perimeter. They do defend. They get into you with speed on the perimeter. They bumped Matty (Carroll) and Chris (Thomas) off some shots. They harassed us and made us take some quick shots.”

On the play of Torrian Jones…
“Torrian did a great job when he came in. He gave us a smaller, quicker look that gave us a chance to win the game. He did a good job for us.”

On Ryan Humphrey free throw shooting (6-15)…
“Ryan is going to be all over the board at times on free throws. I just want to have him in a good frame of mind going into the game. He’ll work on it, he’s been working on it. Actually in some of the tighter games he’s been efficient. I won’t even address it with him.”

On Humphrey’s shot blocking attempts…
“Ryan gives us a presence back there. You have to let him go on his instincts, let him read the play and play to his strengths.”

On team’s comeback from 15 point deficit in second half…
“The emotions are tough when your down by 15 with nine minutes left. You wonder if you can get back in it. It was a tough hole to dig out of.”

“I give our guys credit. They fight, but we have to get past giving it the good old college try. The comeback is something we want to build on, but I’d like to get that kind of play in the first half.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Freshman guard Chris Thomas

On the final shot of the game:

“It was supposed to be a play where I go down the lane and then kick it back out. I just got too far inside the lane and I couldn’t kick out. Originally, I’d go in, kick out or look for my shot, and try to draw the double team. Normally that’s open, but it wasn’t and that forced me to dribble a little more.”

On how Villanova managed to win despite committing 23 turnovers:

“I think they’re just a scrappy team. They’re tough defensively, they play hard down low and they play 40 minutes every game. They’re committed to team defense and they do a lot of things well. I think it they had handled the turnovers, look at what the score could have been.

“We shouldn’t be talking about this right now in the BIG EAST. I don’t have any BIG EAST experience, but what I’ve seen in the older guys, this is for real. We can’t come in with a game like this every game and having a talk at halftime about how we’re not playing hard, we’re not playing together and we’re not rebounding. We’ve got to find the answers soon.”

Senior forward Ryan Humphrey

On the Notre Dame comeback and his struggles at the free throw line:

“We had our chances. We’ve lost three games by six points, so we’ve put ourselves in the right position. Regarding my free throws, I just have to keep shooting more. I thought I was shooting enough – apparently tonight I wasn’t. I’ll probably come back tonight and shoot for about an hour. But, I’m not going to harp on it. I’m just going to work harder.”

On what Notre Dame (and Humphrey, specifically) has missed with Harold Swanagan out of the lineup:

“Everyone missed Harold Swanagan because he does the smaller things like rebounding and boxing out. He’s a critical presence because of his body. A lot of teams in the BIG EAST try to body us and be physical with us. But, we had our chances and we can either dwell on this and look for excuses … the point was, we didn’t do it.”

Senior forward David Graves

On how Notre Dame got motivated for its rally in the final five minutes:

“Desperation … there’s really no other word for it. We didn’t have any more chances. That was it. Our backs were up against the wall and we were playing at home. So we could either go out and play like punks for the next five minutes or go out and play hard and we went out and played hard. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t roll in our court, but that’s why there’s a 16-game BIG EAST Conference schedule and we’ve still got a lot more games to go. Now we’ve got two more days before we play at West Virginia and that’s one of the toughest places in the country to play. So if we dwell on this, we’ll get whupped down at West Virginia.”

On Notre Dame’s pattern of falling behind early and rallying late in its three losses:

“We’ve addressed that situation every day. I don’t know … you’re out of answers, I guess. I don’t know if there even is an answer … we just have to play. We’re just not playing well defensively. We don’t have all five people committed … we’ve got to correct it quickly or it will be a long season for us.”

Villanova Coach Jay Wright Postgame Quotes

On Notre Dame’s comeback…
“I’m sure this was an exciting game for everyone. It was a fun game. I knew this team. I knew Coach Brey. I knew this team was coming back. I knew they weren’t just going to roll over.”

On Villanova’s Defense… “[Defense] has been our consistency all year, but we haven’t played a lot of really good teams. It’s hard to speak of consistency when you haven’t played a lot of good teams, but we did a good job against Providence and Notre Dame – which I think is a very good offensive team.”

On Villanova’s game-winning possession…
“We’d been turning the ball over. I wanted to run something to Reggie (Reggie Bryant), but I would have rather lost the game before I lost Derrick’s (sophomore guard Derrick Snowden) confidence. We set a ballscreen for him and he made a great play. He’s a great kid.”

On Villanova forward Ricky Wright…
“Wright is our warrior. Along with Sales (senior center Brooks Sales), he is the heart and soul of our team. He can do everything for us… He’s our best all-around offensive player.”

On Notre Dame forward Ryan Humphrey…
“Humphrey is unbelievable. It’s one thing to watch him on TV, but he is just unbelievable. He draws so much attention to keep him off the boards and keep him from blocking shots. He’s a great player.”

On Villanova guard Derrick Snowden…
“Derrick’s defense was unbelievable on that final play, especially to make Thomas (Notre Dame freshman guard Chris Thomas) pick up his dribble. I’ve seen Thomas duck under and hit that shot before, but Derrick stayed with him and made a great play.”

Villanova Player Quotes

Junior forward Ricky Wright:

On handling full-court pressure…

“I think guys tensed up, but we have faced full-court pressure before so that is not really an excuse. Coming out of the timeout coach told us to just calm down and make the plays that we always make. It wasn’t ourselves to turn the ball over.”

On second-half Notre Dame run…

“We went cold. That happens on the road. As the year goes on we won’t be that cold again on the road. But at the end we kept our composure.”

On maintaining teammate Derrick Snowden’s confidence during second-half…

“We tried to tell him to keep his composure because we need him. We’re short a guard so now he has to be the man. After he turned the ball over, we just told him it was his turn now to take the ball and make a play.”

Sophomore guard Derrick Snowden:

On scoring final basket to put Villanova in front 74-72…

“The whole game Thomas was fighting over ball screens tough so I decided that when he went over the ball screen to go the opposite way and make a play and it worked. Coach Wright put the ball in my hands and I made the play.”

On defending Thomas in final seconds…

“Basically, I was just trying to make him pull-up because he is great at getting in the lane and I didn’t want him to shoot any three’s. I was just trying to contain him and make him stay in front. When he took it he was leaning and he is not that type of shooter. He likes to come off ball screens and finish and I wanted to make him pivot and make a tough play and it worked out for me.”