Feb. 4, 2012
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Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey
"I continue to be very proud of the team that I work with. I think that today we took
another step, and I feel that we played like men. We were very cruel competitors
when we had a chance to put it away. I am thrilled to see that from this group. We
played a heck of a basketball team today. They have Missouri kind of speed, so you
know that I didn't sleep very much all week. I think the defensive job that Scott
Martin did on Jae Crowder, and that Jerian Grant did on Darius Johnson-Odom was
fabulous. They were never really able to explode. Our overall defense was very good,
and our rebounding was excellent. I am very proud of my group. I told them in one
of the final media timeouts that I felt like I was coaching men today. Last year's
team was men. That had a look of more than one fifth year senior on the court. I am
thrilled where we are. We will get a little rest tomorrow and crank it back up on
On the team's scoring in the second half...
"We have had two halves like that here. Against Pittsburgh we scored 47 in the
second half I believe. Their speed and their defensive quickness really bothers you,
but they are going to get a little fatigued because they have to play long minutes.
They are down a body, so they couldn't quite sustain their pressure as much as
they could for the first 30 minutes. We did a really good job because we passed it so
well. We were finding the open guy, and today we really shot it well. I think we are
a better shooting team than our numbers have said. Maybe this can jump start us
shooting it more confidently from beyond the arc."
On the maturity of Pat Connaughton...
"He was grown up when he got here. There was a fearlessness and a belief that he
should be really ready. Anybody that stands on that mound and has the game on
his shoulders has a psyche that other freshman can't have. He has had the game
on his backside many times, so I think that lining up a three or making big free
throws really converts over to the court. I think our opponents in the league are still
surprised at how athletic he is. He rebounded well today, he blocked some shots,
and he was really just flying all over the place."
On no longer playing the underdog role...
"I think we will probably be underdogs on Wednesday in Morgantown, but when
we come back for the two at home that probably won't be the case. I think that
is something that I have to talk to them about on Thursday. The one thing that
they're going to get from me is that we are just going for it. I am the loosest coach in America. I am loose, baby. They aren't going to get tight from being around
me. I am really excited. That was a cruel way of getting it done today. We were
winning games, but that was another step forward in terms of our mentality and our
On the tempo of the game...
"We want to run in some situations. Throughout the game we will talk to them. I
thought that today we needed to run just to get away from their pressure. It was
hard to make passes against them. In the second half they were really gambling and
doubling. We were making the two extra passes, and if we got open looks I wanted
us to shoot it fearlessly. I think Eric Atkins has a very good understanding of our
tempo. He knows when to speed it up and when to slow it down."
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Jerian Grant So. Guard
On the team's recent play...
"Right now, we're really confident that we can beat any team--we can play with any
team. Our team confidence is really high right now, and I'd like to keep it that way
because we are playing really well."
On the team's progression since the beginning of the season...
"We kind of have a different team [from the beginning of the season]. With
Abromaitis back then, he was going to be a 20-point scorer, so now it's just a lot
of guys chipping in. It's definitely a different team, but at the same time, we're
confident with this team that we have."
On the play of Pat Connaughton...
"I think we've given him a lot of confidence. Now that he's in the starting lineup,
he knows he's going to get his minutes. Before the season, early in the season, he
didn't know if he was coming out when he missed a shot, if he was coming out if
he didn't get a rebound, so now he's just taking the shots that are open. Teams, for
some reason, were helping off him. I guess they didn't think he can shoot, but he can
definitely shoot and get to the basket, so you know it's just a confidence level with
On how the game changes without Jack Cooley on the floor...
"We play with a different pace when Jack is out. When Jack's out, we kind of go five
out, cutting a lot, versus just having someone sit in the post. We have driving lanes
for me and Eric [Atkins] and the guys spotting up, so it's pretty easy getting open
looks for other guys, and they knock them down. Jack's our main low post, so when
he's out, teams kind of scramble around."
On losing the underdog role and their new expectations...
"I think it's good for us. We want to be noticed as a team. We want people to talk
about us because we think we're a good team, and we think we deserve that now, so
we just continue to play with a confidence and continue to win games on the road
and at home."
Pat Connaughton Fr. Guard
On his performance...
"It was really just a matter of getting out there and trying to win the game. That's
what every one of us was trying to do, and I happened to hit some shots, and my
teammates found me. We just played together. I hit one three that rolled around the
rim about six times, so usually when you hit one of those, you know it's going to be a
On the recent success of the team...
"We're just starting to find who each other is, who we are. That's big for us because
we are such a young team. All the losses at the beginning of the year and learning
how to take a loss and build off of it and get these wins now. I really think if you
would ask anybody, we wouldn't have asked for it any other way."
On his defense...
"Defense is huge. Defense is something I can control, defensive rebounds are
something I can control every game. A lot of times those plays get you in the game,
get you feeling good, and there's a lot more than just scoring on the stat sheet. Those
are the types of things that win you games."
On his growth as a true freshman...
"I'm still a freshman on the stat sheet, but I think I'm feeling a lot better about it."
Jack Cooley Jr. Forward
On beating Marquette...
"Marquette is one of our biggest basketball rivals, so to put them away like this was
satisfying. This was a huge win. It wasn't equal to the Syracuse win, but it's close."
On the team's play today...
"I honestly don't think we have played a bigger second half than we did today.
It was our team stepping up. The plan was to get the ball inside, but when I went
down with foul trouble, everyone else really stepped up. We kept rebounding.
Everybody knows how to play now."
On Pat Connaughton's play...
"He is phenomenal in the things he does and with his athletic ability. He even
apologized after throwing the ball ahead of me on the two-on-one fast break. He is
just a great player. He is huge on the court."
On what's next for the team...
"The only thing better than beating Syracuse and Marquette at home would be going
to the hardest place to play in the BIG EAST, West Virginia, and get a win there. It's
impossible to play there. To go in there next week and get another win would be
Eric Atkins So. Guard
On the team's offensive breakout...
"We didn't know that was going to happens, especially a team that pressures the ball
like they do. We've had trouble with that in the past. Breaking out offensively like
this was a little bit of a start, but once we started, it was great."
On the keys to today's win...
"We were able to get stops on the defensive side of the ball, which allowed us to get
on a run a couple of times and get a couple of easy buckets. We did well in the first
half and really broke it open with Pat hitting threes. It was a great team effort."
On being a half place out of second in the BIG EAST...
"From the start of the season, no one thought we would be here. Being half a game
out of second place feels goods. Now we have to keep it rolling and keep scoring like
On the surprises of the game...
"I was surprised when the score was 70-51 today, but with the way we've been
playing defensively, it was not as surprising. A lot of times we are able to take a
team's main player out of the game. If we can continue to do that, we're going to win
a lot of games."
Scott Martin Sr. Forward
On having the fan's support...
"From the Syracuse game on, it's been a madhouse. We appreciate it when they
come out and support us. We try to play hard for them and give them a good show.
Today was a fun day. They were crazy today. It was probably about the loudest I've
ever heard it."
On the team's spread out scoring...
"It speaks to the team and how unselfish we are. We are able to get everyone
involved. We're not worried about who is the first or second option, whoever is
open shoots it. I was open today, so I shot it. Everybody hit big shots today. We just
go out and attack as a team."
On his defensive play today...
"I go out there and play hard every possession. I had a challenge on my hands with
[Jae] Crowder today. I was excited and ready for it. I was happy with the way I've
played defensively. He's a very good player, and I am thankful we were able to keep
him out of his flow today."
Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams
On Notre Dame's three point shooting...
"You can't win on the road when teams shoot it as well as they did [11-22 3-Pt]. I
thought they played really well, and we couldn't guard them off the bounce. They
repeatedly put us in rotation, which is why they shot as many three's as they did.
That's why they shot as many uncontested shots as they did because we couldn't
guard the bounce."
On doubling down on Jack Cooley...
"I thought he played well in the first half, and he picked up the two fouls on Jamail
[Wilson] within the first two and-a-half minutes. I thought we adjusted that from
that point on. I think he was in foul trouble a little bit and didn't play as many
minutes as he normally does. Again, if they throw it to the post and you double the
post, that forces rotation. It's the same principle when it happens higher on the floor
and they beat you off the bounce. It forces rotation as well."
On having opportunities to stay in the game...
"I thought [the score] was always teetering back and forth early in the second
half. I then tried to keep it close by calling [a lot] of timeouts. I was just trying to
keep it in contention, but they just continued to beat us off the bounce. We were
scrambling around and that's why they had 22 assists. A lot of those 28 makes
were uncontested shots. 11 of the 23 shots were three's so that tells you they force
rotation a lot."
On the play of Notre Dame freshman Pat Connaughton...
"I think that was a career high in almost every way for him - minutes, points, assists,
rebounds, steals, blocks. He played really good. That's a heck of a [stat] line right
Darius Johnson-Odom Sr. G
On difference between first and second half...
"I was getting good looks, I shot the ball about six times. I can't control if I miss
them. I have to be more aggressive."
On the defensive end...
"Once they got in the paint, we had to rotate out. They made 11 threes which didn't
help us at all. Rotating didn't help us. We let them into the paint too many times."
On being shorthanded due to injuries...
"We are in good enough shape where we can handle that. We are a good team and
we can control ourselves. We let this one get out of hand. We have enough games
left where we can control."
Vander Blue So. GG
On his play in the first half...
"I'm just trying to stay aggressive and help my team out. Coming into a game like
this we need everybody on our team to try and get this win. Unfortunately we didn't
do that but I just tried to go out there and play as hard as I can."
On team rebounding...
" [Rebounding] is a big thing. With Davante [Gardner] being out we lost a lot on the
boards. I know that I have the ability to chase the out of bounder and just to give our
team the extra possession means a lot."
"I have to credit Notre Dame. They made some big shots and tough shots. They got it
going. A team like that, you have to get them uncomfortable. I wish our defense was
off but we weren't."