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    Nov. 29, 2012

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    Notre Dame Men's Basketball
    Notre Dame vs. Kentucky
    November 29, 2012
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center o Notre Dame, Ind.

    Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

    Opening statement...
    "The energy in the building was great. I'm really proud of our group. We really prepared like an experienced team the past two days. I thought we played like an experienced group, defended excellently for 40 minutes and got into our offensive rhythm when we really needed to. Our guards were fabulous, controlling the tempo of things. But [it's] something for us to build on. We need a little bit of rest now because that's been a busy stretch for us."

    On whether he would have been surprised if the team did not play hard...
    "I would have been. I'm glad we played [Kentucky] now, because they're really talented and they're going to be better in January and February, but I was very confident about our group on this night. It was interesting to hear people around the country, though. We didn't look at it as upset, we just felt we have a team that's played together and could get into our rhythm against a very talented young group. And we're so confident here, it's beautiful to watch. The way our guards were controlling things, we didn't need to do a lot of coaching, those guys were coaching the team, Eric Atkins running things, calling sets, and when you have a veteran back court doing that I just don't want to get in the way too much."

    On Alex Poythress...
    "A couple of times we wanted to put him on a ball screen, and he was guarding perimeter guards - he was on Jerian [Grant] a lot. That's a tough match-up for a young guy who's still making the transition to playing on the perimeter, then have to guard Jerian Grant, or even to be switched up on Eric Atkins. Those guys are veteran guards, they're good off the dribble, and he got in foul trouble and he never really got into a rhythm. I was very worried about him being, able to keep him off the board. Luckily with foul trouble we didn't have to play against him much."

    On how the team was able to stay together when Jack Cooley got in foul trouble...
    "That groups really poised, especially in this building. I think we did a good job of getting to the next play and not hanging our head if we were disappointed, and that's where we're better defensively. When we have rough offensive stretches, we're still able to concentrate defensively. I think experience really helped us there. Scott Martin doesn't have much of a first half, and then he gets us going there. And guys are pretty good about not dwelling on a bad half or a bad stretch-they know it's going to come back to them."

    On Eric Atkins' early aggressiveness...
    "I think it was something he sensed, and he is great at that, he sensed we needed it and he went to work for us, and then we inverted some of our sets where we were bringing him off the baseline, and we ran a set to get him off a stagger and shoot a jump shot, and I think that gave us the lead or tied it. He knows when we need to score it. I just love how he's playing, and the balance of running our team, scoring the ball, and then guarding a really good player, that was a heck of a challenge."

    On the effect of the crowd on Kentucky...
    "I've had teams in that situation, never that young. It can make you play a little fast sometimes if you're young, it can make you take quick shots if you're young. It can rattle you a little bit, and I think it did that. Our crowd was definitely our sixth man tonight. That building was electric and having our football guys there was great, but it was a tough atmosphere to play in. When our atmosphere's like that it's hard to play, young or old it's going to be tough to win in there."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Jerian Grant - Junior - Guard

    On the team's defensive performance...
    "We hang our hat on defense. We studied these guys, so we knew what they could and couldn't do. We were able to go out there and execute our game plan."

    On playing such a young team...
    "I heard their coach screaming out different plays each time down the court. We have a lot of old guys and veterans who have been there. We focused in on defense when they were scrambling. Once that shot clock got low, we were working hard to get a stop."

    On knocking down outside shots in the second half...
    "Once we started knocking down threes it became a lot easier to get to the lane and dish it off the Jack Cooley. And if Eric or I missed a shot because somebody was coming over to get a block, it was easier for Jack to get rebounds. Eric really carried the load for us in the first half."

    On what the win does for the team going forward...
    "This win gives us a lot of confidence, and helps us realize that we are one of the better teams in the country. It is especially nice to win here at home. To beat a team like that is definitely good for our confidence."

    Jack Cooley - Senior - Forward

    On how they responded to Kentucky's late run...
    "We started to talk about better defense mostly. We were giving up some open shots that were hurting us. We needed to make sure that we were focusing more on defense and just continuing to get good shots on offense."

    On outrebounding Kentucky...
    "I was a little surprised, but rebounding was something that we were emphasizing all week going into this game, so it was just us taking care of our business really. I am really proud in the way that we played in terms of boards. Them having the size and athleticism that they have, the way we dominated was great to see."

    Scott Martin - Graduate Student - Forward

    On what has allowed him to shoot the ball well...
    "I spent a lot of hours in the gym this summer. Coach told me at my end of the year meetings to make sure I got shots up. I took that to heart. I was in The Pit shooting every day. I benefited from that. A lot of hard work pays off."

    On if his shot feels different this season...
    "I went back and looked at some tape from high school, and my earlier college years to get a better look at my mechanics. I always want to make sure everything is as sound as possible. I make tweaks every now and then, but not usually any major changes."

    On what the win does for the team's confidence...
    "I think that this win definitely helps us. I wouldn't say that we were unconfident going into this game. I don't think that we were lacking in that department. We believe in ourselves. This core group really knows what it is capable of. I think the win helps us, but I wouldn't say it was a huge stride."

    Cameron Biedscheid - Freshman - Forward

    On getting involved early...
    "I think it was really about getting a defensive stop and grabbing that first rebound. Just to make a good play as soon as you get in and focus and really get after it was big."

    On holding Kentucky to 50 points...
    "It was really just us walling up on drives and trying to get your chest on them when they tried to drive so they would have to make harder passes on the drive and kick out. We tried to get through the dribble handoffs and all the ball screens and be in the right spots in the rotations. We really wanted to be engaged and alert at all times."

    On shooting big shots...
    "My teammates and my coaches really just give me confidence. They know I can score the ball and want my to score the ball and encourage me to do that. I feel completely confident in shooting shots."

    Eric Atkins - Junior - Guard

    On what was key during the game...
    "I think tonight was a big night. We were ready all summer just talking about this game and getting up for this game. It doesn't surprise me the energy we brought tonight."

    On the impact of the team's experience...
    "It definitely helped in the second half with us slowing the ball down and getting good shots. I think that's where our age and our veteran group really took over."

    On setting the tone early...
    "Jerian Grant really set me up with a couple curls early and I got going. I just wanted to keep myself rolling and it worked out. When I hit a few early my confidence was at a high, so after that, I pretty much felt like I could do anything."

    On the meaning of this win...
    "I think it just boosts our confidence that we can win against a really good team - an elite team. I feel like we kind of got the St. Joe's game back because we kind of let that one go. We got that game back for ourselves. I think I guarded the ball better than against St. Joe's. I didn't let [Archie] Goodwin get going. He's a really offensive good basketball player. That's what I'm most happy about coming away from this game."

    Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

    On first road game atmosphere tonight...
    "I expected that we wouldn't play well. It is the first time out of the game. I'm disappointed that we didn't compete. They beat us to balls, under the basket, and we just didn't compete. We didn't execute and we didn't play together. There were a lot of things we didn't do. But it was the first true road game, a bunch of young kids who are trying to figure it out. What I hope is that they figure out you have to play together. You have to give Notre Dame credit. What a great crowd, with their student body, and the way they played. They grounded us out, and that's how we play when we get up. Guys stopped playing defense. They would play for 25 seconds then foul, play for 20 seconds then lose a man, play for 25 seconds then two guys would cross and just talk, and they don't and the guys shoots a three. That is all young players."

    On lack of offensive rhythm...
    "We weren't looking for each other. Whoever had it was trying to score, and you can't really play that way. Hopefully, we will watch some tape and figure stuff out. The good news is that we play in 36 hours, so can't soak over this one because we have a game back to back. We didn't play well, and they played extremely well. They made their shots. We didn't defend them the way we have to defend. Every game we to play is going to be like this. Our home games are going to be like this."

    On Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin combining for only six points...
    "Well, Alex [Poythress] got into foul trouble. They went at him defensively. That's who they looked at and said they were going to go at. I think that may have worn him out. We were trying to post him up and do some things where he couldn't make some plays. I think Archie [Goodwin] was playing out of control for the first time. He has not played out of control. I think one of his shots hit the shot clock. He hadn't played like that all year. He may have early in practice, but he just hasn't played that way, but he was just out of control. In the end, I just told him to get us some shots and not to worry about getting shots himself. But, he's still learning, and that is what happens when you take a young team on the road in a building where they don't lose very often."

    On getting away of identity offensively...
    "We were just out of control. We were shooting balls off the shot clock on drives. My whole thing is you can play poorly and still defend and compete. In other words, two teams just battling it out and Notre Dame wins. That is not what this was. This was Notre Dame throwing around Kentucky and winning by as much as they need to win by. That's what the game was. I'm disappointed, but after this weekend game we get back to being competitive and more physical. That's what we do as a staff is determine what to do better."

    On this team being easier to coach...
    "It's tough to coach new teams each year, that's what is hard. That's just part of what we have to deal with. Every team is new, and we are just learning about our team. I didn't expect us to come in here and play out of our minds, but I would hope we would have competed. I thought against Duke, we did that. We fought like crazy, but this game we just didn't. The environment might have gotten in their head and we were trying different things. Maybe if we look at the tape there were some different things we could have done defensively and different things we could have done offensively to help them. It was obvious tonight that they needed help, and obviously didn't get it from me."

    Kentucky Player Quotes

    Julius Mays - Senior - Guard

    On what happened in the game today...
    "We just got outcompeted today. They played hard. They came out hard. They played harder than us."

    On being intimidated by the Notre Dame atmosphere...
    "We possibly were. It was our first road game, obviously, but we can't hold our heads down because we have another big game Saturday."

    On being the only guy seasoned enough to keep the team going...
    "I wouldn't say I was the only guy, but yeah I did help out with that. We did step up at one point and went on a little bit of a run at one point. At times I felt like we just weren't competing as hard as we should have. If we had stayed on that run, maybe we could have cut that lead shorter than what it was."

    On what he thought about his team's offense...
    "We weren't doing what we usually do. I think we came out a little shell-shocked that they came out like they did. They were able to slow us down, and we're more of an up-tempo team."

    On his comment of being outcompeted from start to finish...
    "I think [Notre Dame] played harder on offense. They played harder on defense. Just all-around, they competed harder than we did."

    On getting away from Kentucky's team identity during the game...
    "I think we obviously needed to go a little more inside to have an advantage. We got away from [our identity] a little bit, and we just didn't play our game today."

    On Notre Dame's environment not being able to be replicated...
    "We all better get used to it. It's going to be on a night-in, night-out basis. I feel like the crowd is going to be like this everywhere we go."


     

     

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