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    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 2, 2012

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    Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

    Opening Statement...
    "Great second half. It was good to see us get into a rhythm, and certainly glad to see [Jack] Cooley bounce back with a vengeance. We were able to throw it to him, and he was fabulous tonight. The change we made putting Jerian Grant on [Vincent] Council really helped us end of the first half and second half. He was able to guard him better than Eric Atkins. Great win for them. I'm very proud of our group to finish third in the regular season in this league and secure a double bye. It's a heck of an achievement for this group."

    On getting Jack Cooley involved early...
    "We felt like we could get it inside against them. In all three practices [this week] we did a lot offensively feeding the post, and we haven't played that way in a while. (In the) first half it showed itself because we stood and watched. The second half we cut off him better in the low post and those other guys got some stuff."

    On the team's confidence moving forward...
    "Well I immediately started talking about and making comparisons to last year's team because they're competitive with that group before them. They won nine games in a row and last year's team only won eight. Last year's group only got to Friday [in the BIG EAST tournament] and we couldn't get to Saturday. We've been to the semis, and we'd love to get over that hump and get to Saturday night."

    On the team's three-point defense...
    "We really did a good job of getting out on guys and we were alert. We're leading the league in three-point field goal percentage defense. We went zone that one possession and their guy hit one in the corner and they started hitting a couple. It kind of got a little weird but for the most part we switched out and made them two-point shooters. Scott [Martin] and Jack [Cooley] did a good job many times having to guard a shooter coming off a ball screen."

    On the aggressiveness of Scott Martin...
    "I think he felt he had a chance to drive it early and he was getting to the bucket and making some plays. He missed some easy ones that I think were kind of deflating for him and us, but we want him to be aggressive. I think he's in a great frame of mind. I think he goes into the postseason feeling good about himself and being healthy."

    On the play of Alex Dragicevich...
    "I really felt good about Alex the last couple of days in practice. You know what the most amazing thing was about him? Forget the scoring. He must have gotten his hands on 10 loose balls on the defensive end. Those were really big plays for us, and we are going to need a confident Alex Dragicevich moving forward."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Jack Cooley o Junior o Forward

    On Monday's game against Georgetown...
    "Monday was extremely uncharacteristic. It was just a horrible game. Nothing was right. Things weren't falling, and it was really frustrating. I just needed to get back out there and have a good game, and I did tonight."

    On when he realized he was having a great game...
    "At one point when I looked up and thought has someone else scored. At that point, I was realizing I was having a good night and needed to get the ball in. My teammates did a great job getting me the ball. Many times Jerian [Grant] and Eric [Atkins] did a great job with passes. They love getting assists as much as they love scoring."

    On clinching the double-bye in the BIG EAST Tournament...
    "It's good to clinch the double-bye. We get to wait to play until Thursday. We get to watch great basketball, while we sit in the hotel room all week. It's a great experience. The whole tournament is fun."

    On the improvement the team has made over the season...
    "Every year during the preseason we get ranked really low and then come back. It is huge to see the change from the Gonzaga locker room until now. I couldn't imagine at that point in time that we would get to where we are today."

    On the break between the games...
    "It was pretty bad. Usually during the break between games, I think back to the good things I did in the previous game. I didn't have much too think about fro the last game. It was pretty bad, and I knew I had to refocus. In practice I was playing hard, but I knew I had to get back on the court and gain confidence."

    Scott Martin o Senior o Guard

    On Senior Night...
    "You get emotional, and you don't realize it until you get out there and think about your experience. It's hard because you have to forget about it and go play the game. It was nice to win on Senior Night. That is what I wanted most. I'm happy and now we get to move on and go to the BIG EAST Tournament."

    On the team's defensive plan...
    "We wanted to stop their shooters. We wanted to make them drivers instead of shooters. We wanted them to have to put it on the floor, and we were able to do it."

    On going back in after leaving to a standing ovation...
    "The guys just missed me a little bit and wanted me back out there."

    On the team's play at the end of the game...
    "We made some substitutions we normally wouldn't have made. We had great momentum going through the second half. We were still able to stop their run when we had to and stretch it back out. It was good for us too to get in a game situation like that before the end of the situation and tournament time. Now it's one-and-done. You're playing for your life every game."

    Eric Atkins o Sophomore o Guard

    On what stood out for him tonight...
    "The first thing is winning, just carrying that third spot in the league and getting a double bye. Secondly, sending Scott [Martin] out on a win. It's huge for Scott and [Tim] Abromaitis. Sending them out on a win is huge. And Adrian Dantley is from my area, so meeting him and his name going into the ring of honor is a great night. "

    On Providence playing in the second half...
    "We did a good job of jumping on them early in the second half. We try to pride ourselves in here especially on jumping on people, and we did that in the first ten minutes of [the second half], but they fought back. They put the pressure on us and caused a few turnovers and made it a game again. It was awkward seeing Scott come back into the game, but we closed it out and I'm just happy we could send them out with a win. "

    Jerian Grant o Sophomore o Guard

    On Providence chipping away at the lead...
    "We were really comfortable, and we started letting down. We weren't putting our hands up and we weren't playing a great defense. We knew we had to pick it up. We still knew we were going to win the game, but it's executing at the end. We can't do that in the BIG EAST tournament."

    On the cohesiveness of the team in the second half...
    "Everybody knew we had to step it up. We thank Jack for carrying us in the first half. When we establish him we can be a great team."

    On the upcoming double bye...
    "It says a lot. To be placed third in this conference is huge. Just to know that we have a double bye in the best conference in the country is really big. To know that we only have to win two games to get to Saturday night and play for the BIG EAST championship gives the team a lot of confidence. "

    Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley

    Opening Statement...
    "I thought we had great shots for 40 minutes. That was the most open shots we have had in the games that we have played. Our two best three-point shooters didn't make a shot in the first half. We did a decent job taking away their threes. Jack Cooley had a great presence inside. We played a good team that shared the ball and made their shots. To try and come back from a very large deficit is always very hard on the road. The regular season is over, and we are looking forward to next week."

    On his team's offensive struggles...
    "We couldn't buy a shot. I thought the right guys had the ball, and the right guys took the shots. It is hard for us to win when Bryce Cotton, who is our best shooter, doesn't make shots for us. If he is not playing at a high level-because of our lack of depth at that position-it is hard for us to win games. We need to credit Notre Dame. They defended us, and they made plays when they counted."

    On his team's comeback at the end of the game...
    "We have been down big before. I am very proud of the resiliency of our guys. They showed some fight. I think that Providence is a tough team. I think that we are a team that not many teams are going to want to face in the upcoming tournament. We are going to fight until the end. We may have ended on a bad note on the road, but you go to New York and crazy things can happen in that city."

    On his team's pulse...
    "We have a pulse on our team. We are a very good team in transition. We are a team that is pretty energetic when we are in transition. I think that our guys know their roles, and the right guys take our shots. It has taken about 27 games for us to figure out who we really are. We have played in many close games. Tonight we played in a place where it is traditionally very hard to win, but I am very proud of my team. I am proud of our progress, and I am proud of how far we have come."

    Providence Players Quotes

    LaDontae Henton o Freshman o Forward

    On playing poorly early in the second half...
    "It started on defense. When our defense is not too playing well, our offensive is not going to because we thrive off of the run-and-gun."

    On missing a lot of open shots...
    "I was mad at myself, but my teammates and my coaches just told me to keep shooting, and that is what I did. They started to fall at the end of the game."

    On gaining momentum going into the BIG EAST tournament...
    "That is what we wanted, just good momentum. That is when it counts, going into the BIG EAST tournament. We are making our run right now. It is too bad we could not get a win today, but I think we are playing well as a team right now. Hopefully we get a win in the BIG EAST tournament or a couple wins."

    On whether the team lost confidence after this game...
    "No, Coach (Cooley) just told us to keep our heads up and learn. We have a bigger goal right now. We are trying to win the BIG EAST tournament."

     

     

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