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March 18, 2017

Mike Brey

Steve Vasturia

V.J. Beachem

Buffalo, New York

West Virginia - 83, Notre Dame - 71

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we're joined by Notre Dame head coach, Mike Brey, as well as V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia. Open up with a statement from Coach Brey.

MIKE BREY: I thought our start really hurt us. We were in a 10-0 hole. You're kind of digging out against them the whole day. It was hard to get over it. Their style of play is hard to deal with. It wore on us at times. Even though we only turned it over 14 times, four in the second half, it probably caused us to miss some of those open looks. You're going to have to make some open looks after you get it out of the trap, and we probably couldn't make enough of them.

But they're really good. They're really good. They got the look. They can play for a while. Bob's done an unbelievable job, like reinventing with full-court pressure. It's brilliant and really a unique preparation to try and deal with it.

THE MODERATOR: Questions now for V.J. and Steve only at this time.

Q. For V.J., just offensively, it seemed like a struggle for you tonight. Just anything in particular that you can point to that gave you difficulty? Was it what they were doing defensively or was it more your own thing?
V.J. BEACHEM: I think, you know, my teammates did a great job of finding me open shots like they usually do. You know today I just wasn't able to knock them down. You know, of course, they wear you down a little bit. Maybe that's why some of them were short, but I just didn't knock them down tonight.

Q. Steve, for you, and I guess V.J. as well, in terms of their defense, obviously their press gets the note. But is it just speeding you up as well as forcing turnovers that causes you problems?
STEVE VASTURIA: Yeah. I think that's the goal of the press. They obviously want to turn you over. If not, they want to get you out of your rhythm. Besides our start, I thought we did a pretty good job. We got a bunch of good looks, Matt, T.J., Greg. We did a good job getting the ball across half court. Like Coach said, you have to knock down open shots once you get it across half court, and we didn't make enough of those today.

Q. Steve, did they shock you at all after the start? After that first series at the beginning, it was a pretty even game. Did the pressure do something to you guys that took you a while to adjust?
STEVE VASTURIA: I don't think it shocked us. If you look at those first four, five possessions, we got really good looks at the basket, we just didn't knock them down. And those are shots we usually make and we expect to make those shots. I think that's part of the reason they got off to such a good start and that's why we were in a little bit of a hole.

Q. Was their offense a bit of a surprise? They're sometimes hot and cold from the perimeter. Was their ability to hit outside shots a little bit of a surprise to you?
V.J. BEACHEM: We know they wanted to bang it inside. They did a decent job of that. As far as knocking down shots, they really knocked down some big-time shots especially in the first half, kind of keeping us at bay when we were trying to make our runs.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Notre Dame student-athletes? Steve, V.J., congratulations on a good season. Go ahead with questions for Coach Brey at this time.

Q. Coach, you mentioned in your introduction there about the slow start and you fall behind 10-0. What do you point to for the reason for that?
MIKE BREY: It's like Steve said, the shots we got were pretty good ones. We had a little runner in the lane, V.J. with a ten-footer on the baseline. I don't know. I think we were awake and ready to play. I don't think we weren't turning the ball over at that time to give them the 10-0 lead. I think it was, you know, missing some stuff.

We may have been shocked we were so open because we were really prepared for them to be after us, and they were. You know, we had our spurts of turning the ball over, but 14 against them is -- that's a pretty good day, only four in the second half. But you got to make -- you know, you got to make a few over the top of it. And your question, I thought -- I mean, I didn't expect them to shoot it from outside as well. I thought we could play a little more zone and make them make more threes, and they made every big three-point shot, and Carter is a big-time winner. What a stud guard he is. He's fabulous. He's just a veteran winner in college basketball.

Q. I was interested, you said that how Bob kind of reinvented the book. How is it different? How did he reinvent this?
MIKE BREY: This is the first -- we played West Virginia a bunch back in the old Big East days. Bob and I were actually talking about how we missed those days, but they were not a full-court pressure team then. They played a little bit of the 1-3-1 you saw, but they were still grinding you, and posting you, and pounding you on offense.

But I think going into a new league, I thought it's a brilliant move by Bob, who's a brilliant coach obviously, to put together a style of play that everybody really has to adjust to in league play.

Q. Obviously you know him. What is it about -- what is his brilliance?
MIKE BREY: I mean, this guy's been winning for a long time at a lot of places. He is just a good old basketball coach. He loves practice, he loves to go in and talk Xs and Os. He is one of those guys that just loved talking hoops. And they've got a great culture about their program now, and they found a heck of a niche in the Big 12. I feel for them. I don't know how they fly three hours to every road game. It's unbelievable that they have to do that, but yet there they are, playing in the Big 12 championship.

The one thing about West Virginia that's the same, when we played them back this the Big East and more so today, they got men. They have men. They have old dudes, and staying old is a good thing in college basketball. They're a little older than us today.

Q. It seemed, for every time you guys started to chip away at the lead they had a counter-punch for you. Can you talk about the frustration of that, just as you seemed to get momentum?
MIKE BREY: It does break your spirit. I've got a really mentally tough group, but that was a real mental test today. Because any time we thought we'd get this thing to four or get it to two possessions, somebody hit a big three or they got a putback. It's really spirit-breaking after a while, and it does wear on our group.

I give our guys credit. We kept fighting, but eventually that really is -- that does a lot of psychological damage, and we hadn't been in one of in a while. We hadn't been in one of those where we were digging out of a hole and trying to come back. We really hadn't been in one in a while.

Q. The decision to leave Bonzie in when he picked up his fourth foul. Explain what went into that thinking on a day offensively you were having a tough time getting a lot of guys going and he was really doing a lot for you?
MIKE BREY: Yeah. I don't think you're saving him for the stretch run. The stretch run was a whole second half, trying to dig out of a hole. Quite frankly, the staff and I talked, if he fouled out, I think we would have played five guards and maybe tried to make some shots. But he's smart. He's a veteran guy. He did a good job not fouling. He was unbelievable today.

Some of our other guys didn't make some stuff. Again, he puts the team on his back and he's not 100 percent. That ankle is bothering him. That's one of the great performances, just trying to carry a team on a bad wheel. Yeah, there's no such thing as taking them out with four because we're either going to get it now or we're going to get beat by 20.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for your time. Thank you. Great season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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