UC-NOtre Dame Postgame Quotes

Jan. 4, 2012

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Notre Dame at Cincinnati
Fifth Third Arena
Jan. 4, 2012
Postgame Quotes

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin

Opening statement:
“Obviously, any Big East win is a great win. I thought we had some chances to put them away but I think Notre Dame is playing really well right now. So, I’m really happy with our win considering (Sean Kilpatrick) and Dion (Dixon) went 2 of 13 from the three and we still won by 16.  Our defensive effort carried us, obviously. Tremendous defensive effort by all of our guys. We made it as hard as we could on Notre Dame. They are a tough team to defend. They always are. They play smart and are one of the best coached teams in the country, year in and year out. They can really pass the ball and shoot the ball. They pose a lot of problems for you. I’m happy. Tremendous win.”

On the contributions of Yancy Gates:
“Three blocks is the stat I’m most happy about. That was a big key for us. I wasn’t concerned at all because he’s been doing it in practice every day. His attitude’s been great. Earlier in the year, he was playing too much. Cheikh was hurt and more importantly, Jaquon Parker was hurt. He plays 21 minutes tonight and he’s probably a 27 minute guy. When you are 270 pounds, you can’t play 36 minutes. It’s my fault. I probably should have played other guys. I probably should have thrown Octavius and Kelvin out there.”

On if this is his most confident shooting team at Cincinnati:
“Yeah, we talked a lot earlier about us being a better offensive team. We should be because we have guys that can make shots and that can beat their guy off the dribble. It took us awhile to find our rhythm, and a lot of that is Jaquon Parker.  One of the advantages of having Jaquon Parker out there is he allows you to play four guards because of his toughness.”

Cincinnati player quotes
No. 34, Yancy Gates, F
On how it feels to be back:
“It feels real good. It is hard watching your team play every night on TV. Just to be out there with them, it just felt real good.”

On transition from practicing in the new style to actually playing in the new style:
“Coach Cronin did a good job of mixing up the guys that I play with every day in practice so it made it easier transitioning to the game. There were a couple of times that I was out of position or I didn’t see the drive coming yet, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.”

On noticing the nice ovation from the crowd upon first entrance into the game:
“Oh yeah, I noticed it. I think that kind of eased it in.”

On how the team is different than it was before the suspension:
“Oh yeah, definitely. I think it is basically the mental aspect of it. Everyone is more focused walking out of the locker room, even coming into the locker room before the game. Even on the court, everyone’s focus is high whether they are on the floor or on the bench and that just helps everyone’s energy level to keep them going. Everyone is just worried about winning. It just makes the game so much easier for the whole team.”

On listening to questions regarding how you would fit in to the team after coming back from suspension:
“It really didn’t matter because I have been in practice and I already knew the style, I knew what I needed to do to fit in so I really didn’t pay it any attention. I knew that I was going to fit in.”

On liking this new style of play:
“Yeah, it is way better. The pace gets up and down; the subs come in and out. It is one on one down low for offensive rebounds off their shots so once I get back into shape it is going to be easier for me to get more offensive rebounds and put-backs.”

No. 1 - Cashmere Wright, G
On thoughts about the game:
“Under the circumstances that we had today, when the team comes back and all the emotion that was built up, I think we played pretty well from the tip. Even the team, without Yancy (Gates) in the game, we played well. Then when he came into the game, you could tell he was trying to fit in with us. And he was giving us a chance to do our thing that we were doing when he wasn’t here and we still gave him the ball like last time he was here. We are just trying to gel and make everything work.”

On what team has learned from the Xavier game that has helped the team:
“You have to focus more. We learned that we have to be a team to win. We can’t be out there with everyone for their self and doing their own things. We have to have one goal and have everyone go for that one goal.”

No. 3 - Dion Dixon, G
On early struggles before hitting first three-pointer of the game:
“I just need to pick it up. I see us struggling a little bit down the stretch so I need to pick it up on offense. (Cashmere Wright) made a great pass to me and I knocked down the shot for him.”

On shooting with confidence toward the end of recent games:
“Everybody sees their self as a closer though. If I have it going they are going to come to me. Whoever has it going, we are going to go to them at that time. In these last couple games I have been having it going.”

On the team coming out real aggressively early in the game:
“The new style is aggressive. Coach (Cronin) stresses it all the time, just be aggressive, just be aggressive, and that is our thing. We just come out as the aggressors.”

On reaching 1,000 career points:
“It feels good. It feels great actually to be in UC history. My first couple years I wasn’t really thinking about it, as I got a little older, I started thinking about it. After the last game I actually told (Cashmere Wright), ‘I need about nine more points to get to that dial.’”

On freshmen stepping up each game, tonight being Jeremiah Davis III:
“The way coach (Coach Cronin) is coaching us, everyone is aggressive, so they are going to come out and play the way they have been playing and everyone has been playing great now.”

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey
Opening statement:
“Well, I think defensively for us that that put us in a good enough position to win. But, (UC) early in the game sped us up so much that I thought we played frantically. And, we never really got in a comfortable tempo that we needed to get into, maybe we did a little better in the second half. But, I thought their defense certainly bothered us. It got us to play fast. And, they made big shots. They made big free throws. They’re obviously a very confident basketball team.”

On Cincinnati’s confidence:
“This game is very mental. They’ve had success. They believe they’re going to win. They’ve played together for a while. And, I though Mick did a great job of bringing back the guys that were on suspension and smoothly inserting them. That can get very tricky. But, he did that very well. Very impressed with them and I’m glad we don’t repeat them.”

On the difficulty faced preparing for match vs. UC:
“It was interesting. Our scouting report today went twice as long. We went over the four guard stuff and the two big guy thing. And, we saw both of it. The real key was them defensively. If they didn’t get a turnover, their activity in the first 10 minutes had us playing frantically. And, I don’t know if we ever really recovered. I love that our group fought. We battled. For a younger group, we kept trying to make a run at them and that’s a great trait to have for the first time on the road in this league with this group.”

On if he’s seen a UC team play with such confidence:
“Probably not. No. I have not. This group has that vibe about them. We’ve played them a lot and repeated them a couple of times. They have a great vibe and a great belief about them. I compare it a little bit to our team last year. Our team last year was old and we were men. And, I said it in one of the timeouts to our assistant, ‘It’s kind of men amongst boys’. (I’m) very impressed with them.”

On sophomore guard Eric Atkins’ play:
“I think for him, he didn’t score it, but he had to handle the ball against the press. He was going to have to get it to people. But, we had a hard time getting (Alex) Dragicevich and (Jerian) Grant involved. Those guys have to get going for us. I thought they had some open looks. I thought Eric hit them. But, I thought, again, that Cincinnati defensive had us a little frazzled. For Eric to play that whole game and handle the ball the way he did, I’m really pleased with his progress.”

On Notre Dame’s struggles on the road:
“Probably some of that is inexperience. Also, the teams we’ve played away from our building: Missouri, Gonzaga, Maryland, Indiana, these guys. We’ve lost to pretty good teams. But, I still think we’re learning to be mentally tough enough for 40 minutes. We’re not there yet. We’ve made big strides on the road since November and December. But, to win a road league game, we still have to get better at it. We certainly have another challenge Saturday afternoon (at Louisville).”