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    No. 24 Notre Dame vs. St. John's - Postgame Quotes

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 5, 2013

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    Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

    Opening comments...
    "Thank God there was a second half. I am thrilled how we defended in the second half and got into an offensive rhythm. We were able to get out in transition and not have to play against a set defense. I thought we were great in our zone, being able to jam it up and keep it to one and done. Jack [Cooley] was such a force inside, thrilled for him to play like that in his last home game. Our guards ran the whole building tonight. They probably took tickets and sold popcorn. When our guards play like that, I just sit down and shut up and let them do whatever they want. They were fabulous to watch. I'm thrilled we were able to bounce back and get a win. On to Louisville."

    On lightening strikes...
    "We talked about our offense since Milwaukee. One of the things was Pat [Connaughton] and Cam [Biedscheid] needed to look and take it. I thought Jerian [Grant] hunted and took his shot more aggressively, and so did Eric [Atkins]. Eric and Jerian have to go ahead and score for us, and then play off of you. They don't have to set people up for us all the time. They are such good passers, but I think they need to score for us. Tonight, in the second half, I think we found something, and hopefully it will help us moving forward."

    On talking defense at halftime...
    "Could we just do a little better job on transition defense. What happens was is that we took good open threes in the first half, but when we miss them they are quick outlets to fast guys. In the second half, we made most of those threes, so they have to get the ball out of the net and couldn't run on us. I talked about our zone, because we were going to sit in it. We did a really good job of packing it in, and they didn't really have enough shooters to spread us. I thought we were patient in it and kept it to one and done for the most part."

    On Pat Connaughton getting out of his drought...
    "I've been after him a little bit since Marquette. We need more out of that three spot, the two of them, Cam and him. The second half, knowing what a competitor he is, he hit that foul-line jump shot when we broke pressure, got to the foul line, and then all of a sudden he's starting to feel it. He's driving a little bit. I think this is something that we need to show him his offensive decisions when he scored and see if we can keep that going Saturday and beyond."

    On what happened at the end of the game...
    "I didn't really see it. It's unfortunate that it happened. Guys have to defend themselves, and I thought he did. It's unfortunate that now Cam (Biedscheid) will have to sit out of the Louisville game, under that rule. I thought everyone felt bad that it happened, St. John's and Notre Dame. I'm glad that our guys didn't escalate it and we didn't have anyone come off the bench. That rule can cost you a lot of guys it if escalates. I thought we kept cool heads and got through the night. It's just too bad that it put a black eye on a neat senior night. I was trying to get [Jack] Cooley a standing ovation, and that broke out. I think [Jack] got a delayed one."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Jack Cooley o Senior o Forward

    On the second half performance...
    "Our offensive efficiency helped us on defense really well. It's hard for them to play defense when they're not scoring. We just did such a good job stopping their transition points that it got them frustrated and they didn't want to play defense because they were too focused on not scoring."

    On starting the game slowly...
    "I was a little disappointed how I personally started the game, but everyone else was kind of scoring well and in the second half something needed to change - we were down by four so I came out with a little more intensity and got it going a little bit. Eric [Atkins] did a phenomenal job finding me on some of those screens. I had no idea - he just makes magical passes every day."

    On bouncing back from last game...
    "You just have to put it behind you. Some of the reasons I didn't play well at the beginning of last year was because I was too worried about my stats and things like that. You just have to go out there and play and it will all come as long as you play hard and you won't really have to worry about that."

    On playing his final home game at Notre Dame...
    "I was at the girls' game last night and then to realize today was our last one, it's tough. I think the Louisville game will be easier than this one because this was a big thing and that's just another road game, so it was a little difficult."

    Jerian Grant o Junior o Guard

    On St. John's blocking shots...
    "We still were attacking and had to pump fake more and shoot a couple more jump shots because they were all collapsing in the paint so we got some good looks."

    On the halftime adjustments...
    "To get out and run. We kind of were playing sluggish and Coach wanted us to get out and run and get some good looks. I feel like when we run, we get our best looks. They're a really young and athletic team and to run back against them I kind of playing into their hands, but our offense was sluggish in the first half so once we got out and running in the second half we did pretty well."

    On being motivated in the second half...
    "Just knowing you have 20 minutes until the game is over, I try to be more aggressive than the first half and stay focused, but the second half is definitely a time where you have to step up."

    Pat Connaughton o Sophomore o Guard/Forward

    On having not scored until the second half...
    "I haven't shot the ball well over the last few games and that's been bugging me, but even today the shots that I did miss in the first half, most of them felt good. They hit back rim and at least then you're on line. I think it's a matter of keep shooting."

    On the team being more cohesive...
    "We started clicking in the second half. We got good movement, we got some cuts and that's when we're at our best because then the shots will fall."

    Eric Atkins o Junior o Guard

    On tonight's game...
    "I think we really got into a nice rhythm. We were being aggressive off of the pick and roll. I think coach did a good job of getting Jerian and I ready for the game. He told us before the game that he wanted us to be aggressive right from the jump.

    On the importance of getting stops...
    "Getting stops is always key. We were looking to hold them to one and done. We got some easy buckets in transition. That really got us going. And we did a great job defensively packing it in on them."

    On the upcoming game against Louisville...
    "I think we are very confident. I think this nucleus went in there last year and got a great win. I think this year it is going to be an even bigger game because of what happened here. It is their senior day. It is going to be a crazy game. We will have to be poised, and we will have to make them play at our pace. That is always our key to victory against Louisville."

    On how the team can carry this performance over to the next game against Louisville...
    "Their team is a lot different than St. John's. They can step out and shoot the three. I think we can focus on getting stops and running. We are always a team that is good when we can get out in transition. We could use some easy looks. If we build on that we should be fine."

    Tom Knight o Senior o Forward

    On facing defensive pressure...
    "After a while you start figuring it out. It is important to be calm when you're facing that kind of pressure. You have to realize that there are holes in the defense and you just need to take your time to find them. I think in the second half we really found those holes."

    On rebounding today...
    "In practice we have been doing a lot of rebounding. We have definitely been taking pride in our rebounding recently. Today I think we did very well. We were ball hawks out there grabbing rebounds."

    On getting easy buckets in the second half...
    "That definitely gave us some momentum. It makes it easier for us to sit down and defend. Good things happen when we get into those running situations. Easy buckets are always good for us."

    St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin

    Opening Statement...
    "We don't have look much further than the second half numbers. In particular, Notre Dame shoots 68 percent from the field and St. John's shooting 18 percent. I think that really was the telltale sign, and that was what led to Notre Dame getting the victory tonight. They put the ball down low, got good looks, high percentage shots in the paint and they were very aggressive in attacking the rim. They probed out through dribble penetration, through extra passes, through the high-low and got good look after good look. As a result they shot 68 percent in the second half, nearly 70 percent, so that was really the difference. I thought [Jerian] Grant was really big for them throughout the entire game. When they were struggling in the first half and we were trying to create some separation, Grant really kept them around and within close range. Then in the second half he continued to play with a hot hand, and then their bigs got involved and they had a nice balance with both an inside-outside attack. Then they just carved us up, just sliced us up for easy baskets. Rebounding was pretty balanced, but I think that really was the story of the night, that in the second half Notre Dame shoots 68 percent."

    On the incident at the end of the game...
    "I have to go see it myself. I didn't get to see any of it actually. I don't know what prompted it or what happened, the referees just said that both players got into a fight, and that was why they both got kicked out. When we go back and watch game film I'll have a better answer for you."

    On his frustration with his team's play in the second half...
    "I'm frustrated with our performance in the second half, disappointed with our level of play in the second twenty minutes because the first half was so encouraging. There were some really good things that we did in the first half but Notre Dame showed their maturity and in an old-fashioned manner put us away. They put the nail in the coffin and then some. They are to be commended and they are a really good basketball team. Of course this was a payback game for them as well so there was a lot at stake for them and they played with great fire in the second half."

    On how Notre Dame was able to overcome his team's athleticism in the second half...
    "I think in the second half Notre Dame was more aggressive. They set better screens, I thought their cuts and movement were more purposeful, and I thought they were able to dribble penetrate into the heart of our defense. They were able to make good reads or choices, with pocket passes, with fanning the ball back out on the perimeter to the open man, and also off of those pocket passes getting some really high percentage looks. Sometimes they were almost Steve Nash-style, they would dribble in and keep that dribble alive until they would find someone to dump it off to. So, Notre Dame in the second half, they were aggressive, they were sharp, they played with intensity and intelligence and there was passion as well and a purposeful approach to everything they did. Really, it was a lesson for our players, that in the first half I thought we played well and it looked like we might of gotten our lead up to eight or 10 and could have started a run, but Grant did just enough to keep them within distance, and in the second half they really just pounded us. It was just a thorough, dominating second half of basketball. It was probably the most dominant second half of basketball that we have faced from an opponent this year. Georgetown, in the (Madison Square) Garden, probably dominated us for 40 minutes, but I would say that Notre Dame in the second 20 minutes was dominating in a very impressive way."

    St. John's Player Quotes

    Phil Green IV o Sophomore o Guard

    On how they gave up a big run after a halftime lead...
    "Settling for jump shots. We had to play through the paint. They went to the paint and we didn't. That was basically the story of it - not enough stops and they just outplayed us."

    On Sir'Dominic Pointer's ejection after a fight...
    "Dom, he's a good teammate, but his temper got the best of him right there. You never want a fight to happen."

    On the mindset of the team...
    "Really upset, but we're going to stick with it because we have another game and then we have the BIG EAST tournament, so we have to finish the season out strong."

    On Notre Dame...
    "I think they're pretty good. Good guards, good bigs. They play together, so that's a good team."

    JaKarr Sampson o Freshman o Forward

    On the team's frustrations boiling over...
    "We're a young team and energetic and passionate about this game, and that's what you saw the result of out there at the end of the game."

    On the mindset of the team...
    "We're just focused on the next game."

    On how to turn the season around after losing players to suspension...
    "We just know that players are going to have to step up. Other players are going to have to step up big time since we're without D'Angelo [Harrison]. So it's going to be pretty much a different team out there."

    On perceptions of St. John's after Harrison's suspension and tonight's fight...
    "I feel like people know that we're good people because it's the first time this happened. I feel like people know that we're good people and we've proved that in the past."

     

     

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