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March 14, 2013

Mike Brey

Pat Connaughton

Jerian Grant



COACH BREY:  What a great college game.  I'm really proud of our group.  I thought we were men the whole night.  The game didn't start really well for us, but we fought back.  Two good teams going at it.  They made another run, and we fought out of it.  We made such big plays at key times, and everybody had a hand in it.
We're thrilled to be playing in our fourth straight semifinal.  I know no one else in the league has done that.  We wonder what it would be like to play on Saturday because our program has never played there.

Q.  Mike, what was the difference tonight?  Same sort of start as Milwaukee 12 days ago, and you guys were able to bounce back tonight.
COACH BREY:  I thought we were able to get our defense going.  We got some stops.  We play a little zone and turned it over.  They turned it over 11 times in the first half.  We went back to man to man and did a good job getting stops.  That gave us some confidence again and slowed them down.  We got some things in transition.  To be up four after being down 17‑4, I'm ready to have a parade at halftime.  We're in great shape.
Even last night, there's been a different kind of poise about us than the regular season when Rutgers made those runs.  There was no panic.  There really wasn't any panic.  As a matter of fact, in the huddles when it was 17‑4, Connaughton kept saying, it's just like the Pitt game.  So I'm really proud of our group.

Q.  I wanted to ask Pat and Jerian about that.  How did you guys process what you were going through at the start and not let it get really bad?
JERIAN GRANT:  Coach just challenged us.  He even asked us if we were scared and we took that personally.  The guys came out and said either you play now or go home, and we weren't ready to go home.
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  It was actually a good thing that we had been there before at Pitt and been able to fight back from it.  That's really why we had so much confidence coming out of the huddles and going down towards halftime.
It's something we just wanted to cut into the lead piece by piece.  Coach said we're not going to tie this thing right away.  It's going to be a process, and that's something that we kind of figured out how to do, and that's what we got done by halftime.

Q.  Mike, have you ever had four big men where you could just‑‑ it's like every other night you press a different button, and it works for you.
COACH BREY:  And everybody at times tonight was the fourth big man in my mind.  Throughout the night, they became the first big man again.  Jack Cooley, I'm really proud of him because it wasn't a real good night, but he kept trying, and he kept plugging, and he made some big, big plays for us.
Garrick Sherman was fabulous.  I think we found another weapon here in March.  Tom Knight, Zach.  Maybe it wasn't as much a night for Zach, but you know what, tomorrow night could be.  It's a great luxury to have all four of those guys.

Q.  Mike, Marquette was second in the Big East in free‑throw rate coming in.  You guys kept them off the line a lot.  Was that something you focused on?
COACH BREY:  That's really who we are.  When we're in our rhythm, we don't foul a lot.  We play our position without fouling.  We're a defensive team.  We're not gambling.  We're not trapping.  I thought we were able to do that.  We weren't able to do it in Milwaukee, but we were tonight.

Q.  Garrick, what is it about the big man rotation?  Looks like all four of you guys can take the load for a while.
GARRICK SHERMAN:  Whatever it is, we're just trying to make sure we're on the floor doing our job.  We're always ready to go.  Everyone has their role, and tonight is one of the nights I had to step up.

Q.  This is one of the biggest talking points of the game.  What do you guys think of the uniforms?
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  Love them.  We're going to keep winning, we've got to love them.
COACH BREY:  We're 1‑0 in green and 1‑0 in white.  They're pretty good so far.

Q.  What about facing Louisville again?
COACH BREY:  Here we go again.  When the games have been in overtime, that's when we've gotten our wins.  When they've one, they've usually thumped us.  I hope it's overtime.  They're really good.  We just played them last Saturday, and they're playing with a great rhythm, and it comes down to taking care of the ball.
We took care of the ball last Saturday, but their half‑court defense is so good, it was so hard to get a good shot that many of the shots we took were turnovers because it was a struggle to get a good shot.  That's where we're going to have to really work.  First we've got to get through the wave.  Last year in the semis, they turned us over in the first half and kind of broke us.  So you got to get through that wave.
We've got to really control tempo, and against‑‑ you know, we've got to shoot it well.  We didn't shoot it well.  We shot it well here two nights.  You've got to shoot over the top of their defense a little bit.

Q.  Mike, just from a basketball fan standpoint, this is the last Big East Tournament.  You've got Syracuse, Georgetown on one side, and you guys and Louisville produced the best game of the year so far.  Is it fun to be a part of these four teams?
COACH BREY:  Unbelievable.  I was talking to our staff at breakfast this morning, look at the matchups today.  They blow away any other league.  Are you kidding me?  Just the sounds of the matchups, and then certainly tomorrow night, I just told our guys, I said, coming out on Friday night for the semifinal game, we've been‑‑ this is our fourth time.  It's electric.
I know it's the last time, and we're trying to get our money's worth out of this thing.
COACH BREY:  Notre Dame, thank you.

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