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March 9, 2017

V.J. Beachem

Mike Brey

Bonzie Colson

New York, New York

Notre Dame - 71, Virginia - 58

THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'll go ahead and start with a brief opening statement and go to questions.

COACH BREY: I thought we defended fabulously for 40 minutes to win tonight. Getting off to a good start in the first half and the beginning of the second half, I think was a key. But I'm really proud of our defense to hold them under 40 percent field goal percentage. We were smart offensively. We had the floor spread pretty good.

It's a great win for us. Obviously, we've not had much success against the Virginia program. It's nice to get the first one when the stakes are really high.

Q. Mike, did you say anything before the game about the ten-game losing streak to Virginia?
COACH BREY: No, I think I'm responsible for five of those, and I think our guys, they know -- everything in this league we've accomplished in four years, that's the one thing we didn't have an answer for.

I thought we played like we wanted it so bad in South Bend, we tied ourself up in knots. I tried to keep us a little looser today. But they wanted to beat this program. This program has kind of had our number. So it's great to get the first one when you're advancing in a tournament.

Q. Mike just gave a very nice, measured response to this. Bonzie, you're a very emotional player. When you hear you haven't beaten them ten times, and five times in ACC. How bad did you want it?
BONZIE COLSON: I think as a team we wanted it bad. We just wanted to stick with what we were doing on both sides of the floor, rebounding, getting balls. Other side of the floor, we just integrate rhythm. V.J., Steve, Rex, Matt, we were hitting great shots and just played at a great tempo on the offensive end.

Q. Mike, you mentioned your defense. It looked like you had the story on Guy. Given the way that Guy had shot it of late, did you really want to put an emphasis on him in keeping it off the three-point line?
COACH BREY: Yeah, I thought what helped us, the two matchups that helped us was certainly him, our most alert defender on Guy, who's really ignited them in our run here at the end of the season.

And Pflueger guarding Perrantes, he's a little bigger and was able to be more physical with him.

But Vasturia, he worked his backside off chasing Guy off stuff all night.

Q. You obviously talked a lot about keeping your team loose. I think it was before the Wake Forest game, you were shooting half-court shots. What did you do this time? I mean, Rex had that reverse dunk. It seemed like the guys were really loose.
COACH BREY: Yeah, they were. Did I do anything different today?

V.J. BEACHEM: You played five-on-five at the team we went to work out at.

COACH BREY: I jumped in a pickup game at the health club before shoot around. My guys were cheering me on. I shot a dang air ball. Then they walked down to the other court and started stretching. Luckily, I didn't pull anything like I did last year in postseason.

Q. For you and your players, you split the season series against Florida State. Just talk about tomorrow's matchup against the Seminoles. Third time you're going to face them this year.
COACH BREY: We had, of course, two great games with them. Down there, they guarded the heck out of us, and it was probably our worst night of the season handling the basketball. We had 18 turnovers. We were better with the basketball in South Bend, and we were playing small. So we were able to spread them out a little bit and get going.

We've had -- it's a great matchup. They come at you in waves, physically and athletically. We're going to have to block out. But we know them pretty good because we played them twice.

Q. Bonzie, they said the way you guys came at them, it's like you wanted to play them. How true is that? How much did you want to get these guys in particular?
BONZIE COLSON: I think we're really hungry and motivated to play these guys. It's been a tough route playing them in the past, so I think we wanted it more. We got off to a great start. That's something Coach Brey has been emphasizing, great starts on offense. I think we were great on the defensive end, rebounding and playing without fouling. I think that's something we need to keep doing.

Q. Coach and the players, if you want to jump in. You talked about how the defense played a lot better tonight. They usually muck it up pretty good on the defensive side. What did you guys do better offensively to be more efficient?
COACH BREY: I think our smaller lineup, which we play longer, we've been playing longer since we got going after the Carolina game, really spreads the floor. And Matt Farrell was fabulous with his decisions off the ball screen, dragging their help. Bonzie was slipping into space. We were hitting and making the extra pass. We're really hard to deal with when we can get into that rhythm.

BONZIE COLSON: Yeah, like what he said. I just think we just had a good focus on both sides of the floor, and Matt was doing a great job making decisions, and it was just a great win for us. We've just got to keep doing what we do.

V.J. BEACHEM: Pretty much what these two guys said. As far as spacing the floor, that was really a key advantage for us tonight, and we were able to knock down some shots early.

Q. V.J., Duke and Carolina are the undercard for you guys tomorrow night. What do you think the building is going to be like? What kind of atmosphere are you expecting? Do you think your fans will be able to get any tickets?
V.J. BEACHEM: Hopefully. It should be two great games of basketball tomorrow night. We're really excited about the opportunity we have. We were in the same position last year and didn't deliver. So being here again is good for us.

Q. For both players, do you recall the first time that you heard that it had been ten straight losses to Virginia, and did you think that can't be right?
BONZIE COLSON: I think you guys just -- I didn't know that. I knew we haven't beat them since I've been here. So we had a little bit more edge, a little bit more swagger coming out, and I think that's something we need to keep doing throughout this postseason.

V.J. BEACHEM: I heard about it today, and I was just thinking, whoa, we haven't won the three years or four years we've been in the ACC, but I didn't know it went back even before then either.

Q. Mike, how much of a benefit has the double bye been, particularly with Virginia playing until 11:50 last night or whatever?
COACH BREY: There's no question that's an advantage. We've gotten the double bye six times, and we've advanced to the semis six times. I'm thrilled that we've taken advantage of it every time.

There's no question there's wear and tear. I think there was some fatigue in Virginia the last ten minutes, just like there was last year in the Duke game. They were up big on us and kind of ran out of gas because they played a tough game against NC State on Wednesday.

Q. Mike, this is a pretty good run of years you've had with postseason success, and some big time games, big time performances, big time opponents. Do you feel like you've gotten your program now to a place where this is something that's expected of Notre Dame?
COACH BREY: I think so. We're kind of in a new rhythm and kind of in a new area, new territory, so to speak. Moving to -- we were good in the Big East and very consistent. We've been really, really good in this league. The league has been great for us. I do think the fan base and our players expect to be playing in big games in March. I certainly have a nucleus of guys that played for two years previously in big games.

Q. For the two players, a lot of similarities between you and FSU. You can go big. You can go small. You can go in. You can go out. Your take on how you guys match up against the 'Noles?
V.J. BEACHEM: Like you said, they play a little bigger sometimes, and we play big sometimes. I think the key is going to be taking care of the ball and getting great shots. I think that was the key for us in the second game we played at home. We really took care of the ball, got great shots, and you know, Bonz was cooking inside.

BONZIE COLSON: Yeah, just being decisive on the defensive end, getting all the loose balls as possible on the opposite end. Just spacing the floor and just do what we do. Box out as best we can, and see what can happen.

Q. For the guys, I know these gold uniforms have done really well, I guess. I'm curious what do you think about just the look of them?
BONZIE COLSON: I love the jerseys. They're one of my favorite jerseys. I'm a big fan of them.

COACH BREY: My brother calls them our waste management jerseys. We're pretty good in them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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