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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Wake Forest Win

March 9, 2021
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Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke after Tuesday's thrilling win over Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament. 

On the win: 
"I'm extremely proud of our group because we took a big punch early. It was a Wake home crowd in this building. I don't know if people could tell, but they had a nice home crowd and their kids played and responded. We didn't rebound very well early to dig that hole. I thought our defense the last seven minutes was the difference. We really defended a team that's hard to guard, spreads you out and I thought they were having a great offensive night. 

"I give our kids a lot of credit. We hung in ther. Every time we would get it to six and someone would make a play and get it back to 10. That's a group that's shown a lot of character.  I know we don't have a hell of a lot of wins to show for it, but this group has hung in there together. At the 10 minute mark, it didn't look very good. I thought our leadership was great and I thought Prentiss Hubb after a very tough first half - you can't keep a winner like that down for 40 minutes." 


On defense the last seven minutes:
"I think your life is flashing before your eyes. We played a little smaller. We defended most of the game Saturday against Florida State. We didn't tonight and I was disappointed in how we started. 

"At the 10-minute mark, I said, 'How we finish the game is really going to determine a lot about how we go into next season for you returning guys. How are you going to play? Show me how you're going to play because I'm really interested.'

"They've taken a punch and come back. I'm proud of the response." 


On what team showed the last few minutes:
"There is a toughness about them. There is a togetherness about this group even through everything they've been through. They've had each other's back. I thought the lineup we had on the floor really defended well together. 

"I give Cormac (Ryan) a lot of credit. He got the heck knocked out of him and he came back to make some really big plays, especially the last one." 


On Trey Wertz:
"When he rose up to take it, I'm going this could be such an unbelievable story. Charlotte kid. He's never played in the building. He's watched the ACC Tournament in Greensboro and Charlotte growing up his whole life and his first game, he drills one in his home state. It's just a great story. 

"Since the Duke game back on December 16th, he's gotten better and more comfortable and he wasn't even supposed to be eligible. I shudder to think if we didn't get him eligible. I've thought about that a lot over the last two months." 


On when he knew Wertz’s shot was good:
"When Trey let it go, I said we're going to win. We swung the momentum and kind of earned it. I'm thinking the momentum has swung all the way back and he's a confident kid." 


On Cormac Ryan:
"I think for him, he deserves it. He's so hard on himself. Those were two tough plays at Carolina and Georgia Tech, but the defensive play to block the jumper without fouling and the presence of mind to feel the clock and feel where Trey was is just a big-time play. 

"He was so hard on himself for the ending of those other two games. I'm happy for him." 


On Cormac Ryan returning from injury:
"We don't have a tougher kid. He's really tough. And because he's so tough, his body gets banged up. He gets injuries because he throws himself everywhere. I don't know how he got hurt, but it was probably an unbelievable hustle play. 

"There's a great physical toughness about him. I thought he, Wertz - that lineup that defended down the stretch was really playing well together. Nik's voice, switching stuff, Juwan changed shots in the back and we didn't foul. When we dig in, we can guard. We've done it a couple times." 


On Ryan returning from injury:
"Our doctor and trainer went to work on him and got him iced. My trainer came to me within a minute and said he's going to be alright, but give us another minute. Then I heard his voice, 'Coach, I'm ready to roll.' We got him back in there quick." 


On getting ready for North Carolina: 
"We'll need everybody. We'll need all seven of those guys. Matt Zona, another big body, who played well at Carolina and played some minutes for us because they're so big. We have to have him ready to go lean on some of their size.

"We have to Gatorade up and ice down. Thankfully, we don't play until 9pm to get our energy back. We know this building will be a road atmosphere." 


On where the moment ranks for him:
"What we do in the ACC Tournament is kind of amazing quite frankly for somebody who has been in here eight years. That's 11 tournament game wins in eight years. That probably shouldn't happen for a newcomer. If you look at the records of people through the years, even some of the original members, but I think we feel we should play well in this thing, especially in this building. I think that's 5-1 in this building. 

"It's a great win for us no matter who you play. Any way you can get to the next round in a tournament atmosphere - which we have shown. If you can win the first one, which we've done many times in the ACC, it kind of gives you hope." 


On Juwan Durham:
"He was fabulous. He gave us stuff offensively and then he changed everything back there. He was really good and they were looking for him the last seven minutes. Our guys were guarding and he really was active. 

"Juwan's really had a good year. He committed himself to strength training over the summer and he's stronger. I like the year he's had and he delivered for us tonight on both ends."

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Mike Brey Notebook | Wake Forest Win

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