Men's Basketball

Postgame Quotes

Dec. 8, 2011

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Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Notre Dame vs. Maine
December 8, 2011
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center o Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

Opening remarks...
"This is a really good win because it's a win. They're really talented offensively. They were really hard for us to stop. We were worried about giving up threes, so we gave up some twos and we felt we could swallow that a little bit. For us, again, things happen in a game where you play a different line-up. We played two big guys together for a while. Dragicevich has been practicing really well, and he can score for us. He's going to become more and more important for us. Connaughton really defended. I thought our three big guys rotating through there gave us good stuff. I thought Jack [Cooley] was fabulous, he gave us the heart and soul, got loose falls for us, did all the tough stuff. Eric [Atkins] and Jack wouldn't let us lose. And that was nice to see. We're thrilled we won. I think it was important for us to come into the locker room and feel a win because we haven't felt that in a while."

On Atkins and Cooley refusing to let the team lose...
"Those two guys just had that look where they were going to make some plays. And I thought Alex [Dragicevich] had a little bit of that look today, and Pat [Connaughton] did too, guarding McLemore and at least chasing him off the three-point line as best he could, and rebounding and cutting. But those two guys kind of gave the rest of the guys confidence to say that we were going to win the game. Because we were in one. I thought we would be because they're really talented offensively.

On Scott Martin's injury...
"Mild concussion. So very questionable for Saturday. Just got banged right above the eye trying to get that rebound, so the beat goes on. Next body. Step up."

On the constantly changing line-up...
"I think we're going to be in that the whole year. We could be starting one line-up one week and then it changes. One guy could be playing really well and then maybe the guy's the ninth man. I think that's going to be who we are and can we keep everybody going as much as possible. That's probably going to be our team this year."

Jack Cooley o Junior o Forward

On becoming a more aggressive player...
"I told myself that I needed to be more aggressive out there. I knew I could do this. I did it last year. I knew I had to get out there and be more confident. My main problem was a lack of confidence."

On getting into a flow...
"Once I started making baskets, I am able to get into a flow. I hit a free throw and a jumper early. It was good to see those first couple go in and then to keep playing."

On having limited practice time due to his illness...
"When they got back, I played half of a practice two days ago and then three-quarters yesterday and now I'm in today. It was a little bit of crunch time, but I had to help win this game. I had to pull it together."

On getting a win...
"This was a pretty good win. You've just got to get a win under your belt, no matter who you're playing. It was good to see another chalk in the win column. It was good to go out there and play as a team."

On playing without Scott Martin in the second half...
"We can never catch a break. We knew we had to play a lot harder. Scott [Martin] is a leader out there, so we knew we had to be more vocal to compensate for that and pick it up as a team."

On improving his confidence level...
"There were a lot of things I had to get together, such as losing weight, conditioning and learning how to play as intense as I can for extended periods of time. With a new team, your role changes so many times. We're all starting to learn our roles on the team and that has helped everyone with confidence."

Alex Dragicevich o Sophomore o Guard

On the team's current position...
"We have a short bench right now and a short lineup with only eight or nine guys healthy enough to play. It's nice if you can go out there and play well. Those kind of games can happen any night. It can be anybody finishing the game. It's just part of the learning process as a team."

On Cooley coming off the bench...
"He started the season as a starter, but now he's been sick, so we're just getting back into the groove of things. We need him out there, though. He's the type of player that has a big impact whether he comes off the bench or starts. He's a high intensity player and that is a great quality that he has. He's only going to get better as the season goes on."

On the team staying healthy...
"There was a stretch in Kansas City where everyone was sick. Everyone's sicknesses are gone now though, so we're trying to figure ourselves out as a team."

On how he can improve...
"Defensively, I need to step up. I need to hit a couple more shots to really help out the team. Everyone needs to step up their role since [Tim] Abromaitis went done."

Eric Atkins o Sophomore o Guard

On playing at home...
"It's always good for us to get back home. It's a place where we're comfortable winning, We're just used to it. Especially for a young team, getting home wins is important. "

On Cooley...
"He did a great job for us. He got boards, even his own boards. He did a great job getting them in foul trouble early. I can't say enough about Jack. He came off the bench and did a great job for us. "

On big "three" plays...
"He went under the screen, and I just let go. That was a big shot for Jerian [Grant]. A big shot for him especially because the night he was having. It was a good confidence booster. "

On their perimeter offensive skill...
"McLemore is a great shooter. He could go anywhere in the country and shoot the ball. We did have trouble guarding. We buckled down a couple of stops and got the 'W'."

On playing without Scott Martin...
"Other guys had to step up. I think Alex [Dragicevich] came in and did a great job for us. I think those might be his biggest minutes for us in a close game. He really stepped up. Even Tom Knight had extended minutes. That was great for him, playing his hometown team."

Tom Knight o Junior o Forward

On playing with a bigger line-up...
"I love playing with Jack [Cooley]. I think it helps both of us. Usually we have a small guy at the post who can help but with two big guys it's hard to help. We get the high-low game working, which was effective today. We've been working on it a lot, especially in the second squad. We have more big guys that come off the bench than we do guards. We're using it to our advantage."

On winning...
"It feels great to be back in the win column. Even though we lost last game, we fought hard. Coming back with a win at home is big for us."

On playing Maine... "I knew Maine has a lot of shooters. I'm close to a lot of the guys on the team. I know them pretty well. They have a lot of shooters that really want to complete. They also guard on the defensive game. I knew it was going to be an offensive game and was looking forward to it. "

On the difference between tonight and Sunday...
"It was more relaxed. Last game was a road game and my first start. It was supposed to be a neutral site but it was also an hour from Maryland. Coming back home was more relaxed. Playing against my home state also got me very pumped for the game."

On roles on the team...
"It helps in practice that everyone is battling for different spots. You may be playing well one day and get your minutes but then the next day someone else will beat you and get that spot. You always have to be ready. I'm not sure if we're ready to have a concrete rotation. We still have to find our role as a team and get our mindset. I think it's good for now because it keeps us on our toes and gives us a competitive nature."

Maine Head Coach Ted Woodward

Initial thoughts on the game...
"I'm obviously disappointed, I thought we played a good basketball game in a lot of areas tonight, but unfortunately we were not able to get defensive stops at critical junctures. Give Notre Dame a lot of credit. I've known Coach Brey for a long time; Notre Dame is an outstanding offensive team. I thought they did a great job all night long. Again, I'm just disappointed we couldn't finish it off on this court."

On the play of forward Alasdair Fraser, who had a big first half but quiet second...
"He's an awfully good player for us and had a great game against Rhode Island last week. He's very comfortable with his back to the basket. Unfortunately we're missing a couple of guys due to injury right now who will be back next week. Clearly, Fraser's foul trouble was a problem for us. It disrupted our balance, but at the same time I thought we had some guys step up and have a nice showing for us. Chetinov did a nice job, and certainly our wings are able to do some things as well. They did a solid job."

On his team's overall defense...
"We need to do a better job of slowing teams down, getting stops defensively, and not allowing teams to have extra possessions. There was a lot of scoring going on, but the bottom line is that they ended up having seven extra possessions off turnovers and rebounds, and that tells the whole story. It was a game where as soon as you made a mistake in multiple possessions, you went in the opposite direction. It was uphill towards the end."

On Jack Cooley's 22 points and 14 rebounds...
"I know they all are capable of scoring; I have a lot of respect for their guys. I thought they did a good job the whole game long executing and playing well together. Obviously we had to defend the whole team. It was a team effort, not just one particular guy. They always do a great job of passing the basketball, and I thought they did a great job of that again tonight. I thought they distorted us a bit, sucked us out of the middle."

Justin Edwards o Freshman o Guard

On the game overall...
"You can never be happy with a loss. We came in here with high expectations. We expected to beat a Big East team. I'm a little bit disappointed."

On learning from this game...
"I think we are going to go back home and work on it. We're just going to get better and get some big wins against some big teams."

Gerald McLemore o Senior o Guard

On the game overall...
"Obviously Notre Dame is a great team. They're great shooters and they play solid defense. Our goal today was to come in and try to win the board, win the glass the whole game. Basically we wanted all the rebounds, but they won all the rebounds and that gave them the game. We're really disappointed in the rebounding factor, but overall I thought we played well. Once again, it's all about rebounding and they beat us on the boards, but overall I thought we played pretty decent."

On what he can take from tonight and use in their upcoming game in his hometown of San Diego...
"We've played multiple games now and we know what we need to do. Like I said, rebounding. I am excited to go home and play in San Diego. In the four years now that I've played, I have been away from home for a while. It'll be fun to play them. We know they're a very athletic team, we know they rebound and have good shooters. When we go into San Diego it'll be a homecoming, but at the end of the day it's a normal game and I want to get our team ready for a win."



Event Calendar


February 18
W, 81-72
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (PNC Arena)

February 26
6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

March 1
8:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
March 4
2:00 PM
Louisville, Ky. (KFC Yum! Center)

March 7
ACC Tournament
Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)
March 16
NCAA Tournament

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