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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Syracuse Loss

January 5, 2019

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey spoke following the 72-62 loss to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. 

On the loss:
“It’s disappointing we couldn’t find the same offensive rhythm in the second half that we had in the first half. We had our chances as we came back.  We missed some free throws, but I thought the difference was a little bit like Tuesday. Veteran players and men on the other team made men plays. We were a little young in some spots trying to figure it out. 

“The league very unforgiving as I told the team.” 

On cutting the lead to two points with six minutes to play:
“There’s some good stuff. We’ve played two pretty good teams. These guys won at Ohio State and we know how good Virginia Tech is. There’s some positives there. We can be a little better defensively and a little tougher defensively at key times.

“That’s something we can address as we go through this week before we play again.”

On shooting 24% in the second half:
“I thought John (Mooney) and TJ (Gibbs) were trying to drag us along with them. I thought they did a great job. John was fabulous in the high post. We missed a couple and we had some good looks. 

“The first half we made those. The second half, we have to make enough of them to beat them and we couldn’t. They made some really big shots.” 

On offense:
“We were great with the ball. We had 16 assists and only 11 turnovers. We were passing and moving. We threw over the top of the zone to Juwan (Durham). We had different guys shoot it with confidence. 

“Most of that was in the first half. The second half when there was a little game pressure, changes a little. When you turn it over once or twice, you get tighter. 

“I thought veteran guys made some plays for them and we couldn’t withstand that over 40 minutes.” 

On the high number of three-pointers taken:
“The two league games, they doubled the low post all the time. We want to feed the post in man-to-man to John and Juwan. You have to take the what the defense gives you. If they are open looks, you have to take them. 

“We got a lot of looks in Blacksburg because they doubled the post, so your look is an open three. Not that you take it early in the clock, but guys have to shoot open shots. 

“It was the first time dealing with the Syracuse zone for (Prentiss) Hubb and (Dane) Goodwin. It’s tough for a guard. I felt for them even though they were good with the ball and getting into gaps. They didn’t shoot it as well as they wanted to, but they have to take open shots. You can’t tell them not to shoot it if they have open shots.” 

On point guard Prentiss Hubb:
“He only took four shots today. It wasn’t like he took 11 shots. It’s one of those where we have to help him. He’s playing and he’s got to play. Those eight guys are going to play. 

“His shot selection was better and I thought today he took open shots. He didn’t force anything. We need him to handle the ball and play defense. He had four assists and he was getting it to the high post.”

“On forward John Mooney:
“I’m pleased with him and he’s been such a battler for us. I told the team someone else can get a defensive rebound. We have to join the club. 

“He’s very confident and really setting the tone for us. He’s playing well. It’s too bad we couldn’t get a win for a performance like that. He’ll be the same every day.” 

On forward Nate Laszewski:
“I felt for Nate. I felt Nate battled. Nate has some plays where he has a 22-year-old man chesting him up in the lane. It’s part of the evolution of these guys growing.”

On Rex Pflueger coming back for a fifth year:
“I’m very excited. Rex and I talked yesterday. We were going to think about it over Christmas and he’s going to come back to get into the accelerated MBA program.

“I’m thrilled. I was sitting at dinner last night with the team and I looked over and the whole team comes back now. I don’t know if that happens in college basketball. Guys can always transfer or go pro but there’s a good chance our whole team will come back.”

On why it’s good for Pflueger to return:
“I like it for Rex. We have some unfinished business. We thought he played too many games when he went down. We’re still kind of young next year and I told our staff we might need a graduate transfer guard to stay old for a year. 

“We just got our graduate transfer guard in Rex Pflueger. We got an old guard. He’s going to be rehabbing but I feel he’ll rehab quicker than most guys. He’s a maniac with that stuff. 

“Let’s also put the basketball aside. Everyone in this room knows what’s going on with his mom. She’s in the fight of her life with brain cancer. We need him and he needs us. He needs to be with us. His dad and I talked about it and he and I talked about it. He needs to be with us another year.” 

On plan for the week off:
“I have to think it through., We need reps, but we also need to stay healthy. I think we need to compete. We need to compete on the defensive end. We have to use  Monday as an off day, but then we need to get into some film work.

“We have attentive students and I need to help them. I told them I have to figure out how to help them more. It starts with me.” 

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