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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Wake Forest Win

February 2, 2021

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey discussed the 79-58 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday night. 

On the win: 
"I'm thrilled with our defense overall.  They shoot 40% from the floor and I think we were really aware of chasing their shooters off the arc. I think in this stretch where we've won four out of five, our guys have really invested in it and they've seen it pay dividends. I think we had 17 score-stops tonight and 24 the other night. When we can get stops and get out a little early on you with the way we pass it and feel the game, it certainly helps us on the offensive end." 

On getting a blowout win at home: 
"I'm really proud of them. I thought we really needed to do it here. We've kind of been better on the road. To kind of get into that rhythm in the second half offensively combined with how we were defending, I think it was important. 

"You feel like you're playing well on this back half of the season. We've done it before. This nucleus has done this dance before - surging in February. I'm going to keep talking to them, believing it's our time." 

On hot second half start:
"I mentioned it at halftime at the Pitt game. We haven't started the second half well and I mentioned it again. Can that be a trait of ours where we start the second half really well?
"I'm pleased we've done it two games in a row." 

On potentially being two wins away from being in third place in the ACC:
"The way this league is and even in the Big East, the strangest things happen in league play. I was hoping we could get on a little bit of a surge and make it interesting. We've done it before, so I love where we're at and I think we feel we're playing better. 

"It all starts with us collectively defensively seeing the investment pay off." 

On selling defense:
"We have really sharp guys and they have basketball IQ. The head coach making them more accountable - I'm not sure I did a good job of that early. When you have your head handed to you through the state of Virginia, there is a big wake up call. 

"To our guys credit, they've really reacted to this is what we need to emphasize and hanging their hat on it. We have gifted offensive guys, but I think they now have been sold on if we can sit down and guard, it helps us on that other end." 

On Juwan Durham's confidence:
"This is a fifth-year guy. I've seen this a lot with seniors and even a fifth-year senior where it's coming to a close. It's coming to an end. He's his own worst critic when he doesn't play well. I don't have to say anything to him. 

"Sometimes he's come up and apologized to me, which no one needs to do. I think he's on a heck of a run. Him in the low post helps us. He's unselfish down there and to see nine rebounds and changing shots. He's playing well at the right time." 

On Durham's consistency:
"It's fun to watch. We've seen that and we've seen it a lot in practice. I think what's been neat is seeing him do it game after game—stacking them on top of each other. He should be confident. He's a heck of a player. His teammates know we need him to win in this league. I love his frame of mind right now." 

On the defensive ability of Durham when he's out of foul trouble:
"It's helpful and we lead the nation in least amount of fouls. We do a pretty good job of staying away from that. That was a tough night the other night against Virginia Tech, but we need him on the floor. 

"He's done a great job playing behind big guys and making them take tough shots over him. I know he blocked four, but they were looking for him at least another nine or ten times when they went in there. When we're out playing defense on the perimeter with good stances and getting out on people and he can be a bit of a goaltender back there - now you're talking about a really cool defense. We've kind of done that a lot the last two weeks." 

On Cormac Ryan coming off the bench: 
"It's working. There's no question about it. He's given us a great lift. He's always defended. He's always worked defensively. I think we've gotten our other guards up to his level of a defensive stance, intensity and taking charges. He's a good role model for Hubb, Goodwin and Wertz. 

"I think he's slowed down on offense and he's taking the first good shot. He feels like he's in a good rhythm on the offensive end."

On Prentiss Hubb:
"I think he's been playing with a great edge starting with Boston College. This is the first time he's had two fouls and I've taken him out of the game. He's not gotten in foul trouble. I really thought to play him, but I wanted to see how we played without him and we did a good job. We have other good guards.

"In the second half, I think he sensed that he had to play downhill. He hits that three to start the half. He's set a great a tone for us and he's been doing this double-double territory thing, which is awesome."

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Mike Brey Notebook | Wake Forest Win

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