Friday, March 25, 2016

Postgame Quotes From Notre Dame

Courtesy of ASAP Sports, here is the transcript from Notre Dame's postgame press conference. Guard Demetrius Jackson, forwards Zach Auguste and V.J. Beachem, and head coach Mike Brey, spoke following the Fighting Irish's 61-56 victory over Wisconsin in Friday's East Regional semifinal:

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and student-athletes Zach Auguste, V.J. Beachem and Demetrius Jackson. We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Brey.

MIKE BREY: On Monday I told our group, I saw us showing us up as the 16th-rated team of the 16 teams left. But I thought we were the toughest team, the No. 1 team in toughness. And I think it's played itself out again in a third game.

We have a great belief. We have a heck of a group. And maybe there's some destiny involved in this thing.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the athletes.

Q. Demetrius, just talk about you're down three and all of a sudden the swing, the big plays and the baskets and here you are now in the East Regional final. Can you talk about that swing how good it feels for you guys?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: It feels great. Feels amazing to be going back. We just did a great job sticking with it. We did a great job giving ourselves a chance to win. We had a lot of mistakes in the game but we kept fighting. We took our punches and we just kind of got back up, kept fighting, kept believing, kept communicating and we just made it happen.

Q. Demetrius, you had obviously a rough start. Could you talk about how frustrating it was and just bouncing back and having the kind of ending that you had?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Yeah, I didn't shoot the ball too well to start the game. But like I said, just trying to finish strong, doing whatever I can to help our team win the game, just kept believing. My teammates did a great job encouraging me to keep attacking, and we just did a great job, just kept going for it. We've been in that position so many times this year, so I think we're really experienced in late-game situations.

Q. Demetrius, can you just talk about what it means to keep the season alive with the type of performance you had in the final minute of the game?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Yeah, just really special. And I guess that kind of sums up madness, just flying around, doing whatever it takes to win the game. And I'm so thankful to be able to go back, continue to put the jersey on, continue to play and represent our university and just have fun playing with my brothers and being coached by our coaches and just enjoying the ride.

Q. V.J., you guys were struggling offensively the first 30 minutes there and you hit some big shots to kind of get your guys going. What was your mindset in the second half and how as a team do you feel you were able to fight through that?
V.J. BEACHEM: I think in the second half we were moving the ball better, getting it side to side, getting it inside and out. And we just had better movement and our shots were just a little more open. And all of us were able to knock them down. Just the way that we attack really opened up, really opened up the outside shot for all of us.

Q. Each of you had a different vantage point for that trap play and the steal at the end. Can each of you talk about what you saw and what each of you had to do?
ZACH AUGUSTE: I believe I was on the bench watching at that moment. But it was a great experience. Coach called for the press. Demetrius and Bonzie trapped him and he got a big-time steal, and Demetrius finished with the play and I was just excited. The whole bench was going crazy.

V.J. BEACHEM: I was in the middle of the floor and I saw we had him trapped. Coaches said to see if we could get it out of the trap before we fouled, and we just let him dribble it and he ended up losing the ball, Demetrius grabbed it and laid it in.

DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Coach did a great job recognizing and letting us know that we had a foul to give. So we had a really aggressive trap, and then Bonzie made a great defensive play, getting his hands on it. It kind of fell into my arms and I just wanted to put it in and finish it.

Q. Demetrius, I think I've already read that you said that you actually told Bonzie to get back on that. Can you explain kind of what unfolded there? And does that play into what your coach said just this team of destiny idea?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: I'm just really glad that Bonzie didn't listen to me on that play. I was telling him to go back to half court and kind of anchor us so they didn't get anything long. But like I said just thankful he didn't listen to me on that one. And he was able to get a great defensive play. He tipped the ball. So that play is really credit to him and whoever else trapped him. And then I just had an easy layup. It was just up to me to put it in.

Q. Demetrius on the last steal were you trying to foul; is that what you were trying to do there?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: I was just trying to play aggressive defense and help our team win the game. In that same possession we realized we had a foul to give. So just playing aggressive and just kind of going for it and the ball kind of fell into my hands. So I knew after I stole it they had to foul us. So got fouled and wanted to go to the line and knock the free throws in.

Q. Zach and Demetrius, if you could answer, asked before about the team-of-destiny idea. And just the way that all unfolded, does it play into what your coach is talking about?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Yeah, I think the whole year and how many game situations we've had throughout the whole year kind of prepared us for moments like these. All throughout the year we've been down, fighting -- all throughout the year we've been in late-game situations where we really had to execute and believe and go out and win it defensively. So we were able to just do that again today. And so that's all credit to Coach making us work on those things in practice and in games and helping us believe and help keeping us loose.

ZACH AUGUSTE: For sure, definitely gotta give a lot of credit to coach. Early on he emphasized we could be a special team and we can be better than last year. And it was just a matter of us trying to figure that out and trying to believe it. And that's what we've done. And we've been competing and working hard and trying to get to where we want to be.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. An injury report, what's wrong with you?
MIKE BREY: Trainer said I should be able to go Sunday. About the 15-minute mark I was excited and jumped up and I pulled a calf muscle. Thank God it wasn't Achilles. So little calf strain, no surgery needed, but I'm a little sore. I told the guys I'm the first one taped on Sunday.

Q. First or second half?
MIKE BREY: Second half. I was dragging it in the second half. But all good.

Q. Just talk about the fact that your team is now one game away from a chance to go to Final Four, East Regional, regional final, and maybe your first as a coach, I'm not sure as a head coach. But just talk about that challenge, that opportunity, regardless of who you're playing and how exciting is it?
MIKE BREY: I'm proud that our group got back to this point. We were there last year and played one of the great games in the history of the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky. And we're back in it again. We have another opportunity to go to a Final Four.

I'm very proud of this group because last year's team had no pressure. We were coming off of a 15-17 year. This team had expectations from day one, and to get us back and deliver with expectations, I'm really proud of them and I'm extremely proud of the leadership of those guys that just left us.

Q. The three guys talked about that trap play. Can you tell us what you saw and what went into that play?
MIKE BREY: It's a game situation. We're not a team that presses a lot. But when we're behind in a game situation, we get a big on the ball, and we want to trap the first pass. What I told them was, I said, we don't need to foul. We have a foul to give anyways. Let's get an aggressive trap. If they get it out of the trap, then we've got to foul. And then be in position to foul again to get them to the line. And I thought we did a great job of being aggressive and having some crafty hands right there.

Q. If you could talk about the offensive woes in the first half how you turned around, you had ten points in the last 46 seconds, 19 points in the first --
MIKE BREY: We were laughing, I said, gosh, we can't play any worse. Guys were kind of laughing, and I said we'll play better. I said we've always been great in second halves. Down the stretch from 12 min -- I said, fellas, they're going to feel us coming. We're coming. That's what we've done all year, not only in this tournament. We're going to get this to a game situation. Keep plugging.

I thought Steve and Demetrius did a great job of staying poised. They weren't making shots. They weren't in the greatest of rhythm, but they still defended and did tough stuff. Then all of a sudden they all had a big impact.

Q. Which leg?
MIKE BREY: Right leg, baby.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks Coach.

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