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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Miami Win

February 14, 2021

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following the 71-61 win over Miami.

On the win:
"I think the way the game started in the first half, you knew it was going to be a hard game. Could we win a hard game - open looks, but we didn't make them and they keep coming at us - even though it wasn't pretty, we figured out a way to win a hard game. We've come a long way with our mental toughness." 

On grinding out a win:
"I thought the group that finished the game for us really defended. We said at one of the timeouts with four or five minutes left, I could care less what happens on offense. Can we defend enough to win the game? I thought we did. 

"Nik Djogo was just fabulous. All year, he just senses what does my team need? All of a sudden, we needed and he did more. We had him on Wong the last couple possessions. He did a great job there, but not surprised. The guy has been fabulous in his role." 

On Nik Djogo potentially not being a guy:
"I think I was wondering if we would ever get there. I really did. We redshirted him, so we thought we had a future and as a staff, we were thinking it might not happen. 

"One of the things that was really telling when we got back to campus was he knew as a fifth-year senior he had to lead and be a voice. I've really been so pleased with how he's led and talked to guys and reinforced our culture when the coaches aren't around. It's carried over to do a little bit of whatever we need him to do." 

On Djogo's development:
"He's always been a believer in our culture. He's also done whatever role we've tried to give him. There have been flashes. I think the injury bug bit him at times. Every time we thought we would get a little more out of him, something physically knocked him back. 

"We weren't as good as we could have been in December because he got hurt in the Michigan State game. We were scrambling getting him back from that ankle. He does a little bit of everything and it starts with his leadership." 

On Djogo's ability to guard multiple positions:
"He's amazing in that he can guard a center, which he did tonight for a while and then he guarded the point guard the last couple of possessions. That tells you how valuable he is on the defensive end. 

"He can guard a guy one-on-one in the post, or he can guard a guard and stay in front of him. He's an amazing help defender. He's a great rotate and help and unselfish defender. He's a guy who has played a lot of basketball and has been in our culture for a long time. He puts himself in the right position because of experience." 

On overcoming early foul trouble and Cormac Ryan's injury: 
"It was kind of a weird night. We had foul trouble with the two big guys and Cormac goes down. The way he went down, I thought it was going to be two weeks. He played through it and came back. He had some great looks like he had at Duke that didn't go in. 

"I thought Nate Laszewski really handled it like a man. He was poised and hung in there. His little scoring spurt gave us enough room to probably escape with a win. He didn't force anything and let it come to him." 

On rebounding and defense:
"We were better the last 35 minutes. The first five minutes, we couldn't get our hands on the ball off the backboard. Once we kept it to one-and-done, we were in a better rhythm and we got down the floor and got at least a couple buckets. 

"The lineup that finished the game - when Nik is in there as a second big guy and we can switch stuff and rotate that has really helped us. It saved our backsides today." 

On this week being the first time Notre Dame gets back-to-back home conference games this season:
"It has been a little tricky. I give our guys credit. They've rolled with the punches when we've had cancellations and gaps. I told them we have an opportunity with a team in Clemson that has an NCAA Tournament resume. You have a chance to get your record to 7-7. 

"We didn't get to .500 in the league until Senior Day last year digging out of a hole. Maybe we're a little ahead of the game this year." 

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Mike Brey Notebook | Miami Win

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