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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Duke Win

February 9, 2021

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following the 93-89 win at Duke on Tuesday evening. 

On the win: 
"I'm very proud of our group. We took a big punch early. They came out firing. I don't know if we were completely awake - out of that timeout, we were very awake. We did a great job offensively. 

"We had 80 the other night - we have to get up to 85-90. We have the ability to score like that and our offense was beautiful. Our zone defense the last 10 minutes really helped us." 

On coming back from down 15 points:
"I give them a lot of credit. I think we've learned to fight a lot more since December. We got in there and I thought we defended better the last 10 minutes to go in at halftime and feel like we're in this thing. 

"Offensively, we had some possessions where those seven guys really know how to play off of each other. It's really fun to watch." 

On starting Cormac Ryan to jumpstart him:
"I didn't know it'd be like that, but he was fabulous. He was due. I thought Trey (Wertz) reacted well because I thought he came off with a little edge to him. 

"It was just a matter of time with him (Ryan) as he's getting more and more comfortable playing for us." 

On what it means to him to get a win at Cameron Indoor:
"To bounce back, it tells you what our group is all about. That was heartbreaking the other night and then you go on the road and you're hanging in there. I'm really proud of how we bounced back. 

"The one thing I told them on Sunday was to forget the league resume. You would have a chance to be a basketball team at Notre Dame that won at Kentucky and won at Duke. That ain't ever happened before and I'll bet you it won't happen again, certainly while I'm alive.

"I told Jack Nolan we've been on life support at least four times this season. Every time you're about ready to give last rites, we come off the mat. I'm very proud of the group." 

On message during timeout after Duke dropped 20 in the first six minutes: 
"I tried to wake them up a little bit. Our group, when I've challenged them, they've always responded like men. We needed to wake up and from then on, we were really good." 

On offense:
"That was a clinic offensively. I marvel at what we do on the offensive end and how we play together. We don't run any plays and we play basketball the right way. We know each other." 

On zone defense down the stretch:
"They're a drive at your throat group with their athletic ability. It bothered us in the first half and early in the second half. The one thing the zone did was it jammed it up a little more and made them a little more apprehensive to drive it because we had some traffic.

"Juwan (Durham) did a great job. When we play big with Nate (Laszewski) and Juwan and play zone, we're pretty good on that backline. Cormac really rebounds like a son of a gun on that backline. Our guards are really good at the top. It changed their downhill drive at your throat after two passes rhythm. They shot some jump shots and that's not really what they wanted to do." 

On Cormac Ryan not forcing things in the second half after 21 points in the first half: 
"That's great maturity. I think those seven guys are mature enough to know if something is going good and it's not necessarily me putting it in the hole, I'm just going to keep playing that way. I thought he was fabulous picking his spots. He kept us in the game. We were dead in the water in the first half. 

"In the second half, some other guys got going and other things were happening and he just played basketball. The one thing he's always done, he goes back and defends and rebounds. It really helps us when he is on the court defensively." 

On no rah-rah speech and seeing team respond: 
"We've got an older group and they're very mature. They're very hard on themselves when they don't perform. They have high standards for themselves. We were all stinging for a long time - probably until practice on Monday we were stinging, which was great. That's a good thing. 

"I felt like we would play really well today. When it started, I'm like, 'God, I didn't expect this.' 

"To our credit, we came out of a little bit of a funk the first four minutes and competed our backsides off." 

On getting on a run to end the year:
"We've won five out of seven. One of the things I did with them last night, I put some clips together of our last three games. We were 2-1. It was good offense and defense from the last three games. I think the last four games we have kind of played at a different level. The title of it was 'Stay the Course.' 

"I know we didn't get it the other night, but I think we're playing pretty darn well. Let's not panic and be ready to compete again." 

On what has clicked for Cormac Ryan the last few weeks:
"I think just experience, game minutes, playing long minutes and being healthy to play and learning how to play with other unselfish great players. 

"Our unselfishness is really neat to see how contagious it is. As a coach, you can coach it a little bit, but it has to be a little innate and a group that takes ownership of itself. 

"He was voted a captain and I think that's pretty damn powerful right there and how his teammates felt about him. It was only a matter of time with him. He's just too good of a player. I think he's in a really good rhythm. I thought he and Trey were in a really great rhythm tonight." 

On Prentiss Hubb showing up big in the final minutes:
"We've seen that story before. I think what he's learned to manage the game and use the weapons around him. But nobody can close out like him. He's a fearless guy. He's a big-time winner and he wants to make the big decisions and the big plays. He's unafraid of the bright lights. That's why I love coaching him and his teammates love playing with him.

"He sensed it like the end of the Kentucky game. He went for the jugular. That's a little bit of an assassin." 

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Mike Brey Notebook | Duke Win

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