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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 19, 2013

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    Notre Dame Quotes

    Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

    Opening comments ...
    "Great game for us today. I am thrilled. I'm very impressed with Rutgers. We've always known about their perimeter but their front line is now starting to do damage and we couldn't get away from them. And I didn't expect to get away from them. You almost need to win one like that tonight. I thought we really defended well and defended at key times. It was great to see Jack Cooley back in gear, Scott Martin taking that charge - that would be the guy to make a play like that at the end."

    On the importance of the win ...
    "I told them, it's going to be hard in this league. Things are going to be hard - and just to remind them - not that this group doesn't know about hard stuff, but you have to fight them off after turning it over a little bit, missed some free throws, but we have to make some plays to steal a win. I hope it's something we can build on."

    On nearly losing a late lead ...
    "We turned it over, we got Pat [Connaughton] the ball thinking he was going to get fouled and he turned it over there. In hindsight maybe I should have tried to get it to Eric Atkins or Jerian Grant, but we've run it to Pat many times there. Their pressure rattled us a little, it got us on our heels and I think Eric was tired and they can some after you with speed and some athletic ability."

    On the play of Tom Knight ...
    "He's got to keep building on it. I was really down on him in the first half because I thought he didn't grab some rebounds and he wasn't active. But he gave us energy in New York the other night and him coming in and scoring the ball there and bouncing around - got to get him rebounds - but we could use his scoring and mid-range stuff. The shot he took in the first half was too quick, but the ones in the second half were after we moved the ball a little bit. He's confident and we need to keep building with him."

    On Pat Connaughton's consistency ...
    "We need Pat to be a keep guy in both halves and I like that he was driving the ball and I like that he was making shots for us tonight and it was a confident shot."

    On getting Scott Martin going offensively ...
    "I don't want to over-analyze that with him. We're not going to run stuff for him to score. When he scores for us, it's when the defense helps off of him and he's gotten an open look. That didn't really happen much tonight. I don't want him forcing anything; I just want him to rebound and be in good position. He was in good defensive position tonight, and then at the end of the game, he's really our most vocal guy when we're trying to get the ball in against pressure. We need him in there for that."

    On playing five players at least 33 minutes ...
    "If you look at our history, guys have played a lot of minutes for us. I think Cam Biedscheid needs to give us more, but tonight he just wasn't strong enough with the ball against stronger guards. It was a night where we had to get a win, so our men had to play. We've always kind of been heavy with key guys."

    Scott Martin • Graduate Student • Guard

    On playing in a tight game ...
    "They are a very good team, and they made some big plays. We tried to just lean on our experience. We have been here before. We have one some tight games that have gone down to the wire. We were just trying to pull out a big win."

    On the charge at the end of the game ...
    "I figured that they were going to try to get to the rim. My man was just standing in the corner, I hope. That is where he was the last time I saw him. I tried to get to the spot. I was able to get there just in time. I knew that was a charge. I have taken a lot of them in my day."

    On being prepared to play in a close game ...
    "I think it all goes back to what we do in practice. We work on a lot of game situations. Sometimes you're not going to pull them all out. That is just the way it is, especially in this league. We know we have to keep working hard, and it certainly paid off today. I usually don't have to take a charge like that in practice, but we work on all the game situations. We know we have to hit our free throws and get stops."

    On what made Rutgers so hard to put away ...
    "They are a very good team. They have good guards. They hit some really deep shots. That helped them crawl back into the game. They also gave us some trouble with the pressure they were putting on us. That zone press was tough. It is something we can address, and something we can work on in practice."

    Jack Cooley • Senior • Forward

    On bouncing back after the team's previous game ...
    "It was all about focusing. I needed to just get back out there and keep doing what I do. I watched some film from last year. Last year I had a pretty good game against these guys, so I wanted to see how I could improve from that."

    On what happened down the stretch ...
    "We were playing to not let them get a three. They had really good frontcourt pressure, and they caused a few turnovers. There were stretches where we didn't handle their pressure all that well. That is what let them get back in the game."

    On the final possession of the game ...
    "I thought we played pretty good defense. I think Pat [Connaughton] made a very good close out. That was a tough shot. If he hit it we would have been going into overtime, but thankfully Pat played some really good defense."

    On Scott Martin taking a charge at the end of the game ...
    "Scott is the best at getting in there and taking charges. If he sets it, it is going to be a charge. It was just a great play, and it won us the game."

    Eric Atkins • Junior • Guard

    On being hard to put the game away ...
    "[Eli] Carter did a really good job of attacking us and was making really tough shots. We were spaced and [Myles] Mack could really shoot the ball along with Carter and [Jerome] Seagears. We stayed so spaced out and they kept driving the ball and getting to the hoop. They were a really tough team."

    On winning a tight game like this after prior games ...
    "Getting our tough win always goes really good in this league. They are also really tough to come by. So, pulling this one out feels great. Scott [Martin] did a great job to pretty much win that game for us on that charge at the end."

    On prior losses and needing to improve for a victory tonight ...
    "One of our problems was swinging the ball and getting the ball passed around. The last two games we were really stagnant. Tonight we wanted to pass it around and get some balls in. I think we did a really good job doing that in the first half and down the stretch we had to stop doing that because of the way they were playing. It was a really good, tough win, though."

    Pat Connaughton • Sophomore • Guard/Forward

    On the game ...
    "It was a good way to start. Really, everyone was just coming out and trying to get the win. After a two game losing streak, it was nice to come back home and play in front of the home crowd."

    On trying to stay in rhythm in second half ...
    "I think it is just a matter of playing both parts of the game. You don't necessarily have to stay in rhythm for the three-point shot, but then all of a sudden they are playing the shooter and you have to drive. I didn't do as much of that in the second-half, but these guys did and it opened them up. They were playing up-tight for me and it opened the others up."

    On being tough to put them away ...
    "They are a tough group. They have three really good guards and the big guys are tough guys, which usually makes for a really good team. That's what they are."

    On looking for the ball tonight ...
    "I think that was the flow. No one on the team really comes into the game looking for it, that is forcing it. I think we all just come out and play the game. If you're open, you shoot it and if you're not, you drive and try to get some help."

    On staying in rhythm ...
    "I think it is more drive to win. Winning plays usually come about in that instance. That being said, winning plays also come about when you are on winning streaks. Obviously, losing makes it that much more important to win, but I don't know if it necessarily makes it that much easier to get into a rhythm."

    Jerian Grant • Junior • Guard

    On finding ways to win ...
    "Just being in attack mode. For me, with the ball in my hands, dribbling and attacking the rim, going off ball screens, so I can see the floor."

    On being tough in the end ...
    "They were knocking down threes and shots, but we weren't really taking care of the ball. They hit a couple shots, but we kept our composure."

    Rutgers Quotes

    Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice

    Opening statements ...
    "Thought it was a tremendous BIG EAST basketball contest-both teams scratching and clawing. The first six minutes we gave them too many open looks and there was not enough communication by our basketball team. We started guarding ball screens differently-we didn't communicate it very well-and we gave them too many open looks. I liked our response though, we didn't put our heads down and the guys fought back and didn't quit. It was a one-possession game, it was just tough the way we lost it."

    On the final play of the game ...
    "Like in all BIG EAST games, you create some contact, you put some pressure on the defense and I thought Eli Carter did exactly what I wanted him to do, which was to get to the paint and [the referees] saw things completely different than I did but it's a tough job being a referee in the BIG EAST. It's a tough way to lose it because that was exactly what we wanted to do, we wanted our leading scorer to draw contact."

    On his outlook on the team as of this point in the season ...
    "I know I have a better team than I've had the best two years. I know I have scoring ability, inside and out. I know we have to become more consistent in everything that we do. But I like our fight, I like our poise and purpose, I like our experience. It's just that you're going to have to grind out these type of games in the BIG EAST and we've been comfortable in these games. You can't expect to give a top-20 team in the country a fourteen point lead and expect to do come back and do what we did. Again, tremendous energy by our guards flying around and making small plays."

    On the difficulty of playing in the Big East ...
    "I said it two weeks ago, 'Why not us? Why not Eli Carter making two free throws at the end and winning a game against Notre Dame?' There are a lot of quality teams, and I think we're one of them. You can't blink this year or you're going to lose two or three games in a row and fall down in the standings."

    On how the team defended Jack Cooley ...
    "Not great. Cooley is an All-BIG EAST type player. I would have liked him to work a little harder and not be as efficient, and the way we guarded the ball screens during those first five minutes in the second half hurt us. In the first half they just had some 50-50 balls that landed in the hands of three-point shooters. I was okay with the way that we defended in the first half but that second half coming out of the locker room our defense was not very good. I thought our zone was very effective in getting out to shooters, we took away their ball screen offense. Tom Knight hits two top post turn-around jump shots but they didn't blink either they just kept trying to find ways to continue to score some points and every little play counts in this league."

    On the play of his guards ...
    "When you watch the great guards, they don't settle, they're always drawing contact to get on the free throw line at the end of the game and our guards have to get comfortable with that. But again, nobody put their head down, nobody sulked, so I liked the poise and purpose that they showed."

    Eli Carter • Sophomore • Guard

    On Rutgers' final ending with an offensive foul ...
    "We just got to deal with it. It was a real tough call. We just got to play. [Scott Martin] was probably got outside the lane, but I thought he was still moving. Like I said, it was a tough call, and we just have to deal with it."

    On shot selection on final play ...
    "I could have taken a jump shot, but I just wanted to drive and be aggressive."

    On other options on the final play ...
    "I wanted to get [a shot] up because I knew Dane [Miller] could tip dunk it. I wanted to get the ball up and above the rim."

    On whether Martin was outside the circle on the foul call ...
    "Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. I'm not sure. I haven't looked at the tape yet."

    On losing a close game after already winning three close contests in BIG EAST play this season ...
    "They're real tough, but you've got to come out in the second half and just jump on teams from the beginning and not get behind. So when we press and get out with a lead, we're a pretty good team."

    On Notre Dame's lead ...
    "They're a great team, all the credit goes to them. They made some tough shots, we slacked on defense at the beginning of the second half. We've just got to pick it up from now on."

    On defensive adjustments to trim 13-point deficit in the second half ...
    "We got up and started pressing more. We scrambled on defense and attacked the rim on offense. When we do that and share the ball, we're a pretty good team."

     

     

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