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    Notre Dame vs. Santa Clara - Postgame Quotes

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    Feb. 11, 2014

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    Notre Dame Men's Basketball
    Notre Dame vs. Clemson
    February 11, 2014
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

    Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

    Opening statement...
    "I'm proud of our group. We had it won a couple times, we handed it back a couple times, and found a way to win it. We looked like we were going to escape a couple times and we couldn't. They're very good. We saw one of the best players in the league in (K.J.) McDaniels. He is very good. We needed a league win and I'm proud that we were able to get a league win."

    On Demetrius Jackson's absence...
    "It's really simple. Academic habits. He had such a great fall semester and summer, and he's just behind. He needs to improve his academic habits. I put on my high school coach and teacher hat, which I'm never too far from. That's how I've handled many guys when I was a high school coach and teacher and certainly here, especially in the offseason. You get to go back to basketball when those habits are more consistent. We'll give him some time to get caught up, and if he is, the end of the week we'll get him back to practice and go from there. He has to get back to those habits that I saw in the fall."

    On contributions in late game moments...
    "He's (Steve Vasturia) wanted to take big shots. He's a pretty fearless guy. He's made some big ones for us this season, certainly the Duke game. He's starting to look like an upperclassman. He's driving and probing and not playing it safe. He's getting to the basket, getting fouled, and making plays. We know he can shoot but I like him going off the dribble. It gives us another ball handler, which we've been missing at times. Zach (Auguste) was flying all over the place, Eric Atkins was rock solid again. The 1-3-1 was hard on us. Eventually, against that, you have to make a big shot and we were able to do that in transition before they got set up."

    On the team staying together...
    "I think tonight is a great example. You can say they've had a number of distractions this season, but I don't think that has ever affected them. They've come back and played and other guys have known they are going to get an opportunity. Teammates love each other, but they don't mind playing more minutes. I don't think they've ever been distracted, and they're almost prepared for it on a daily basis. I give a lot of credit to (Eric) Atkins, (Pat) Connaughton, (Garrick) Sherman and (Tom) Knight. They've seen a lot and they keep us steady."

    On the significance of the win...
    "It's huge. We played really well. We are up a couple of possessions and they came back at us. We were much better with the ball after we had some key turnovers that could have cost us the game. We rebounded from it. We needed to win this game. We would've been really struggling if we didn't win."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Zach Auguste • Sophomore • Forward

    On giving up the lead at the end of regulation...
    "It wasn't a matter of nerves. We were just trying to focus in, get locked in, and we've got to do this together. And we did it."

    On the key to his big game...
    "Starting off in the first half, I did pretty well. I know I had about four or five rebounds. I talked to the coaches and they said, `Hey, try to get your double-double and try to attack the glass. That's what the main focus should be.' And it was."

    On what Clemson did defensively at the end of regulation...
    "We weren't expecting the 1-3-1. I think it slowed us down a little bit, but we came together strongly, and we finished it."

    Eric Atkins • Senior • Guard

    On the physicality brought by both teams...
    "Yeah, it felt like everybody was throwing blows the whole game and we finally pulled it off."

    On taking the game possession by possession...
    "We wanted to take care of the ball a lot more in this game. It did seem like every possession meant a lot more to us because we really emphasized being better with the ball. I think we did a good job with that, at least in the first half."

    On letting Clemson back into the game multiple times...
    "There were a few times when I looked at the scoreboard and said, "We got this." Then they made some plays and got a couple of turnovers and they tied it back up again."

    Pat Connaughton • Junior • Guard/Forward

    On this game giving the team momentum looking forward ...
    "It gives us a lot [of confidence]. Any time you can come out of a two-overtime win you're very excited and you're very excited to play again and the next one becomes a little bit more personal. "

    On the team's success in overtime...
    "It speaks to the team's toughness. We have guys that do not quit and when we get into overtime, we dig deeper. Now it's a matter of channeling that to the regulation games."

    On Steve Vasturia's shooting at the end of the game...
    "He's a tough kid. The way we play lets him know that he's going to get his chances. He knows that I personally and our team collectively has the utmost trust in him and the utmost faith that he's going to take those shots without a second thought and that's what he did tonight and that's why he was able to step up and knock them down. "

    Steve Vasturia • Freshman • Guard

    On his three-pointer to take the lead in the second overtime...
    "I was just excited we were able to take the lead. And fortunately we got another stop and pulled it out."

    On how big the win is for the team...
    "We did a lot of good things, so I think this will give us a lot of confidence. We've got a couple road games coming up, and if we can build off this, hopefully more good things will come."

    On where he gets his confidence...
    "Just trying to make an impact, whether it's knocking down shots or getting loose balls, anything to help us get a win like tonight."

    Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell

    Opening Statement ...
    "First off I would like to congratulate Mike (Brey) and his kids on a hard fought win. I thought they outplayed us for 30 minutes. We switched to the 1-3-1 zone late, confused them a little bit and gave our guys a little juice and we played better down the stretch. We had free throws, two free throws, made one. We went to overtime, had a good shot on a side out-of-bounds play and missed it. You know those things happened but we did not play well defensively early and give Notre Dame credit for some of that, they passed very well and had us on our heels a little bit. The longer the game wore on, our offense struggled even more and we couldn't capitalize on our zone."

    Reasons for offensive struggles ...
    "We struggle offensively a lot, we are just not as talented offensively as we need to be. We are very inconsistent shooting, certainly (K.J.) McDaniels is a special player and certainly that performance tonight was remarkable in some ways. We just don't have enough consistent scoring in our lineup. We don't have enough guys who can make individual plays. When you get into conference play it's hard. We all know what each other runs and there is familiarity, there are not many secrets and you just have to go out there and make plays."

    On guarding Eric Atkins...
    "He's a great player. I have a lot of respect for him. He's one of those guys who has really improved throughout the course of his career and he is just a really talented player. He does what you need him to do, he makes shots when you need him to, and he gets inside the defense when you aren't guarding him well. He makes good decisions and gets other people involved. He's good shooting out on the perimeter and plays well in the paint."

    On the switch to the 1-3-1 zone in overtime...
    "We have had that in our pocket for a while. We haven't worked on it in a while, we worked on it a lot in the middle of the year and earlier in the year. We have only used it a couple of times this year and very little. I can't imagine Notre Dame knew much about it and worked against it in practice. But when you are playing with a lead, you get a little conservative, it happens. The other team has nothing to lose we are very active, when you just throw it on someone it can work for a while. Our guys executed it well and adjusted to a couple things they did."

    Clemson Player Quotes

    K.J. McDaniels • Junior • Forward

    On the loss...
    "It's tough... It's extremely tough. I mean we're still a young team, and you know, we have to come out with the same intensity in the first half that we had late in the game. That's all we can do. We just have to go and watch film, and try and gather the troops, and just fight from the beginning."

    On how they played with Landry [Nnoko] out...
    "When Landry's in there, he controls the paint pretty well, so when he goes out, it hurts. But we have backups that will come in there and try and play hard, and try and do what Landry does. Landry's developing and when he does go out, it hurts us but I just try and step in there [along with other guys]. We just have to find a way to just fight when he goes out."

    On the emotions in a two-overtime game...
    "Notre Dame played really well tonight also. [Steve Vasturia] hit some big shots, and they were hard to cover. In the end, they came up with some clutch shots."

    On ending the road trip and being able to go back to Clemson...
    "I wish we could do it over, and just start over. But that's how it is. If we started that road stretch now, it would be a lot different. We're going to learn from this, and we're going to capitalize on our next game."

    On whether he realized he shot no free throws...
    "I do. I just realized that. I need to find a way to get to the line more. I feel like I got fouled a few times, but they couldn't get called, but I can't complain."

     

     

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