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    Notre Dame vs. UConn - Postgame Quotes

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 12, 2013

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    Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

    Thoughts on the game...
    "Well, disappointing for us. You're playing pretty well in the first half, you're driving it and scoring pretty good, but their defense really changed and made it hard for us, and they're really difficult to guard at key times. The two guards (Ryan Boatright & Shabazz Napier) are really good and (Tyler) Olander was fabulous today. Has to be his best game. I loved how we fought, and it wasn't all going great for us but we were trying to figure out how to steal it but they deserved it. They got a lot of the loose balls. League play, interesting things happen, you got to turn around and figure out what you can do Tuesday night in New York (against St. John's)."

    On playing the game with a tie score...
    "We had great opportunities, but it never felt good in there. The vibe was different than other nights it was going to have to be a flat-out theft. And when Jack Cooley gets the rebound and it gets stripped, and he punches into that guy's hand and he lays it in, kind of the exclamation point on 'not tonight'. We played with a little bit of the weight of the world on our shoulders, because it was 'wow, we may not be able to get this one', and that took it's toll on us a little bit. But you have to give Connecticut a lot of credit I think, the guards are really good they defend you, and they're hard to guard."

    On Jerian Grant pressing too much at the end...
    "Yeah, we weren't in a very good rhythm. I thought maybe we could drive it more and get some calls, but we forced some stuff. I think we've got to look at that when we're in that situation, do we move the ball a little bit more before we put our head down and go. He was trying to get us jump started, but probably forced a couple."

    On shifting the lineups in today's game ...
    "I was just trying to figure something out, especially scoring-wise. I'm trying to come back to Cam (Biedscheid), does he get a couple, we went small for awhile, does he get some shots, at the end of the day when it was all hitting the fan, those five guys which have played a lot together were either going to win it or lose it. We put ourselves in position, which I love because maybe we didn't deserve to be in that position. Our crowd was great today, our crowd really helped us I know the students weren't back yet but I thought they were. You just try to find something offensively, can somebody score? Can somebody make a bucket? They did a good job on (Scott) Martin today, they really took away anything with him, that's why they went under the ball screen so they could stay locked up on him. He didn't really get many looks. Their front line really defended us. Their team defense is really good. It's a shame they can't go to the NCAA tournament I think they're really good. They were better for 40 minutes, they flat out deserve it."

    On preparing for the next BIG EAST game on Tuesday ...
    "Well it's got to be more mental than physical. That was a long one, and we got a Tuesday game coming quickly, so we need to get some rest, watch some film of some things maybe we can do better because we're going to see ball screens again with St. John's, and then Monday tune it up, get our energy ready for Tuesday. You know one of the things I told them in the locker room that last time we lost, we had a great bounce-back in less than 24 hours against BYU and we were under the gun down 47-40. Now we are going to a place where we got beat last year (at St. John's). We exercised some demons Monday, at a place we got beat last year (Cincinnati), maybe we can do that again. This league is all about how well you can bounce back, and we're going to be in it a lot."

    On how hard it is to turn momentum around during a game ...
    "It was tough. Guys were trying, that's why with Cam (Biedscheid), we thought can Cam jumpstart something, can (Garrick) Sherm[an] do something, can anybody do something. But Eric's (Atkins) three, I thought it changed the karma and I thought maybe we can steal this thing. But they came right back and executed that back screen lob, and when they answer back on you like that it's demoralizing. It took a lot of energy to guard them throughout the game so offensively you don't have a lot of juice sometimes. I think maybe we should have played some more zone. Zone helped us at times just so they had a different rhythm against us. And that's something moving forward in league play we have to look at, just change tempo with zone."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Eric Atkins, Junior, Guard

    On the game in general...
    "It seemed like we always cut it down to two. We missed a lot of easy ones and I felt like we couldn't rebound off of that. We never really recovered from that. But at the end of the game I don't think we ever really got a good look."

    On reacting to Connecticut's offensive changes in the second half...
    "We were really expecting more of the same in the second half with (Shabazz) Napier and (Ryan) Boatwright and we kind of were caught of guard that they kept feeding the post and going to (Deandre) Daniels and (Tyler) Olander. That kind of caught us off guard defensively because we didn't want to leave Napier and Boatwright open because they had been shooting the ball so well in the first half. So that threw us off a little bit."

    On Connecticut's scoring spree in the second half...
    "Whenever someone scores consecutively, you're not doing a good enough job defensively. But I thought we still had a chance to win it and tie it up. That was a little defensive lapse but we kept ourselves in the game. "

    Jack Cooley, Senior, Forward

    On defending Connecticut...
    "Other teams are going to play the way they do, you really have to play the way you do to try and stop them. We didn't do a good job of stopping (Deandre) Daniels or (Tyler) Olander. But it was a team effort and we just got to play better."

    On whether Tyler Olander played how they expected...
    "We were going to give him open jump shots and he just started hitting them. He was playing really well inside. He went small and they recognized that right away and they went three possessions in a row. That hurt us a little bit. We just need to play better interior defense."

    On the difference in play between first and second half...
    "For some reason, we always come out strong, but we just didn't have it in the second half. We just didn't play well. It was weird to see our shots really weren't falling. If we would have made a few more shots maybe we could have won this game. We had some tough breaks on defense at the end. That's how games go."

    On how to bounce back from this game...
    "Just realizing in the BIG EAST no team is easy. We just have to recognize that and go forward and realize that we can beat the rest of the teams in front of us. We've just got to play our hardest."

    Pat Connaughton, Sophomore, Guard/Forward

    On the game in general...
    "It was just that one basket and that one stop we needed. You've got to give credit to them because they played an unbelievable game. But we just needed one more game-changer. That kind of just seemed to be the way it was a the end of the game."

    On defending Connecticut...
    "It's tough but a lot of teams in the BIG EAST have that. They have the good big guys and the great guards, so it's something that we have to dig in. We have to bounce back quick. I think it just hurts because we didn't really prove how good we are yet and this loss set us back because although UConn is a great team, they are not getting the credit they deserve and so that gives us less of an advantage when we lose to them."

    On the loss...
    "It was kind of a statement game that we wanted to take care of business in our home. They beat us last year at home and it was something we didn't get done but that's the way it is in the BIG EAST. Every game is a dogfight. We've got to figure out how to keep going at it."

    Jerian Grant, Junior, Guard

    On what he could have done to change the outcome...
    "Just on the defensive end, getting a stop when we needed a stop. We just couldn't do it today and that's why we lost."

    On Connecticut's backcourt...
    "Today their guards played well. They played amazing, I felt like they couldn't miss. Just defensively we've got to be able to stay in front of those quick guards. There's a lot of them in the BIG EAST. We'll get better at that. We gave ourselves a chance to win. The score was tied and then the foul was called and all of those free throws. Kudos to them. But we've got to bounce back and get ready for St. Johns."

    On missed shots...
    "Just being able to finish with contact is something we need to be able to do. The ball wasn't really falling our way today. I mean just an inch here or there and a shot goes in. Today it just wasn't working for us."

    Connecticut Head Coach Kevin Ollie

    Opening Statement...
    "What a great game. Guys played hard. Three or four times we could have given in and they faced adversity like true champions. They played together tonight. I can't overuse that word; I can't overemphasize it, but they stayed together. The game management with our guards was perfect. They kept everybody encouraged; they kept everybody in the game. Tyler Olander was wonderful. Eight-for-nine. Just looking aggressive and looking like he wanted the challenge. That's what we expect from him. I always talk about time, seed and harvest. The seeders go first and then you have the time and then you have the harvest. He's not finished yet, but I really enjoyed the harvest tonight. He's been putting the time in and he's been putting the seeds in. No matter what we say to him and no matter if we take him out of the starting lineup, he comes back the next practice and works his butt off. I'm proud of him, I'm proud of DeAndre (Daniels), and I'm just proud of how everybody battled. Shabazz (Napier) kept us in the game the first half with some great shots. He ended up with 19 (points). This was a great opportunity for us and we took advantage of it."

    On the play of Tyler Olander in the post...
    "I just wanted Tyler to go to work down there. I know what he can do on the offensive end. It was a matchup where he could get deep post position. We went to a couple of our favorite plays when we saw the matchup. Shabazz (Napier) did a good job of recognizing it and our coaching staff did a great job of recognizing it and we just went in to him. He made some plays. He made some plays on the pick-and-roll and once you get a couple of layups, that rim got real big for him and he started shooting jumpers and just doing what we know T.O. (Tyler Olander) can do and I'm real proud of him."

    On staving off Notre Dame momentum in final 1:04 of second half...
    "We just made plays. You know I'm going to put it in my guards hands at the end of the game when it's under one minute. I'm going to put it in Ryan (Boatright's) or Shabazz's (Napier) hands. Ryan went in and got fouled on the hand checking call and went up and made four big free throws and we needed that. We needed that and we've been stressing that in practice that our point guards have to make free throws. He stepped up, but then we also got rebounds and we got stops. We went down and we got stops and DeAndre (Daniels) got a beautiful rebound over everybody and just jumped out and used his long reach to get nine rebounds. I know he got two or three of them down the stretch and got a big block against (Jerian) Grant. We needed everybody today and everybody came in and played. Don't forget about R.J. (Evans) big offensive rebound. We just talk about just hanging in there and hanging around. Good things are going to happen to a team that sticks together and a team that plays for each other. Our ultimate goal is us. We wrote it on the board that our ultimate goal is us. It was a good job by our coaching staff and a good job by our players to come out and get a great road victory. We want to keep building on this. We have a little time to celebrate but after that we have to flush it in the toilet and go on to the next one."

    Tyler Olander, Junior, Forward

    On the matchup with Notre Dame...
    "I didn't look at the matchup per se. Jack Cooley is a great player that is having an outstanding year. I just told myself to go out, play hard and try to limit his rebounds."

    On getting blocked on the first shot ...
    "Yeah, you just have to keep playing hard. Coach always tells us to take care of our minutes and that was what I was trying to do."

    On motivation playing against Jack Cooley...
    "Yes, definitely. He is having a great year. He is probably one of the best centers in the country and definitely in the BIG EAST. We said if we can take him out of the game and limit his rebounds, we would put ourselves in a good place to win."

    On knowing that this could be a big offense day...
    "I just came out in the second half, made a couple of moves. I started to get in a groove and just tried to keep it going."

    On a rewarding experience...
    "It's definitely very rewarding. Things weren't really working out for me at the beginning of the season. I stuck with it and kept working hard and got into the gym. It feels good to finally have hard work paying off."

    On biggest improvements in the last two games...
    "Just taking care of the little things. Going after rebounds and focusing on that. Just focusing on defensive rebounding. We have three great scorers and if I just take care of the rebounding we will win a few. "

     

     

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