First Round Notes and Quotes: Winthrop
First Round Notes and Quotes: Winthrop vs. Notre Dame Post-gameMarch 16, 2007
Notre Dame Quotes
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Brey and then questions for the student athletes. COACH MIKE BREY: First of all, Winthrop's very good. And I thought their experience and their men tonight played like men. Defensively they did a great job on us. We missed shots, but I think we missed shots because of their defense. I'm very proud of our team after getting put it on us early in the second half to comeback and have a chance to win. But you got to give Winthrop credit. I thought that their experience and their men, their pro prospects played like it today. THE MODERATOR: All right. Questions for the student athletes.
Q. In the first half you were up seven points and you got possession of the ball with a chance to stretch the lead, where did this one slip away, where did Winthrop, how did Winthrop kind of seize the lead from you guys and put you in the big hole that you found yourselves in? TORY JACKSON: I felt like they stepped up on defense. They kind of got up under us a little bit and we kind of got frustrated. From there on it kind of went down hill. And we bounced back, but it was kind of too late. LUKE HARANGODY: I'm just like Tory said, they really picked it up on the defensive end and I think we had some let downs getting back on defense. We were kind of flat there. ROB KURZ: I think that towards the end of the half they had a couple big plays where they hit a couple of threes, and then just to start the second half I don't think that we played defense like we should have. They got off to a quick run. Got out to I think a 18 point lead and then it was too late for us to we did a good job fighting, getting back in the game, but in the end they were too tough. They played great.
Q. Tory, if you could describe the run that you guys made to come back in the game and take the lead? COACH MIKE BREY: Your emotions and during the run and then before. Because Mike took out you and Russ right before that and when you came back in you made that run. TORY JACKSON: I was I felt like that me and Russ had to get back in, I felt like we had to be, have a lot of energy when we came back. And we felt like we had to be the ones to start it up a little bit. When we came back in we talked to the rest of the players that was in there, Luke Harangody and Rob and Colin and we talked to them and just we, we know, I mean we got here because we earned it. So we're not going to blow it, you know, like the way we played in the beginning. So we just fought back and just put our heart on the line. It really showed. And it paid off.
Q. Luke, were they doing anything special inside? You kind of struggled early and well struggled really the whole game. Did they do anything special that will to stop you? LUKE HARANGODY: Both their post defenders are, they really got into me and tried to push me off the block and they kind of took me out of position. I think that had a little bit to do with it. But I never could really get into the flow of the game.
Q. Did they do anything to surprise you? Rob KURZ: I don't think they did anything that we weren't prepared for. We knew coming into the game that they were a really tough team. And had a lot of experienced guys. So I don't think that it was necessarily anything they did or any adjustments they made, they just played really tough all game long and they made some key plays and some clutch shots and so I don't think it was necessarily anything they did in their game plan. LUKE HARANGODY: Yeah, we scouted them the whole week and we knew their game plan. They just came out and I think that they played well of the they had a good flow to them and hit some big shots like Rob said before. I think they played like a veteran team like they are. TORY JACKSON: We were prepared for them. They just executed very well. They came out with a win.
Q. I know it might be difficult now, but all of you guys are coming back next year. What does an experience like this do for the future? TORY JACKSON: This gives us the momentum going into next year. I'm very excited to play with these guys again. It's going to be very this had team is going to be nice. We're going to make a lot of noise next year. So I'm just happy about this. LUKE HARANGODY: I think this is for the summer and work outs leading up to next season is going to be a lot of motivation. I think we're all going to remember this like coach said, look around because we want to be back here next year. Rob KURZ: I think that even though this game was disappointing for us it was our goal ever since last season to get back to the NCAA tournament. I think it's definitely something to build on. We have Kyle coming back and these two guys next to me and we feel Luke we have a lot of talent. We know we're going to work hard all summer and hopefully put ourselves in a position to win a first round tournament game next year. THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions now for Coach Brey.
Q. 3 point shooting tonight's really been your thing all year and you guys have struggled. What did you see? COACH MIKE BREY: Well, I think in the first half we got some pretty good looks. Especially Colin. And we'll live with that. I do think that they defended those guys pretty well though overall. They took away the 3 point line. And that's why in the second half we had a little more success with both of them just driving the basketball. We probably could have done a little more of that in the first half. We talked about that. But Colin got some good looks, that's how we play. You can't change it all of a sudden. But I give their defense a lot of credit. They were quick. They react quickly defensively.
Q. Rob ended up with three first half fouls and Carter had a couple. Can you kind of talk about how foul trouble factored into this contest at all? COACH MIKE BREY: Yeah, both teams were banging on each other early. One of the things that we have done with our front line always is told them to play and not worry about foul trouble. We use our depth and rotate those four guys. I felt we had to have Rob in the basketball game and because we were losing the handle of it a little bit at the end of the half. But we have just not really reacted to foul trouble on the front line as much because of our depth on the front line. We're a little smarter try to be a little smarter on the perimeter, especially with the starting perimeter. Because we, it's a drop off when those one of those guys comes out.
Q. In having to respond to the adversity there when they were on that 37 10 run, was it something where it hit so fast your guys were a little shell shocked at what was happening? COACH MIKE BREY: I thought the end of the first half and then the beginning of the second half we were back on our heels. They really executed in the half court. We didn't do a very good job of Bradshaw on him, when they were building the lead. And we were a little demoralized. We were a little knocked back. We looked young, they looked old. They looked like the men, we looked like the younger group, the first five minutes of the half. Once we were able to press and change the climate, our energy level got going again and we had our chances. We had an opportunity to win the game. You wouldn't have thought that I told our guys in the huddle, I said, when we were down 20, I said, CBS has left this game. Let's make them come back to it. And I think that they did. And we made a run at it. So I'm proud of our kids. I would hope that how we ended the game as I told them, is some momentum into next year with our young guys. Just playing with a lot of energy and going for it.
Q. I think you during the first half you had a seven point lead and I think you made 10 of 12 stops in succession and but yet you didn't really stretch out that lead. Was that a kind of an important factor? COACH MIKE BREY: Well, I think so. I said to our assistants at half time, what did we have 28 at half time? That's low for us. We're a team that gets that thing up to high 70's or '80's. When you're at 28 I said we need one of those 50 point halves. Maybe 45. We weren't really able to get that. And I think that you got to give their defense overall credit. I thought in the midst of that run in the first half when we were defending we shot it a little quick. We were so excited. But I wanted us going for it. I didn't want us over thinking it and our shooters have been guys to kind of let it go and let it rip and play with a free mind.
Q. You used your bench a lot, was that just because of the foul trouble or were you looking at something else there? COACH MIKE BREY: Well, I've gone to bench therapy, you know, over the last couple years, I've been in that, use your bench, use your depth. Use your depth. We needed yeah, I thought that Harangody tweaked an ankle early in the game. So I, but Hillesland has been practicing well, and I thought that we needed him a smaller matchup. Their big guys are out on the perimeter. Zach gave us good minutes off the bench. Zeller gave us good minutes. I thought Jonathan gave us good minutes and that's something to build on for next year. So we played pretty deep this year. That's been an advantage for us. And certainly in the second half we had to play some different guys.
Q. The full court press got you basically back into this game, you got within three and you stuck with it. Can you talk about that a little bit why you stuck with the press? COACH MIKE BREY: Well, a game is fragile and it's long and it has many swings. And that was a great example of it. I think it was 10 3 them, 13 10 us. We're up. They finish the half. They punch us in the face hard in the second half. I mean, it's it was a great, it was an entertaining basketball game and at the time out when we were really down, I said, we got nothing to lose, we're picking up full court, trapping, and going for it. And we did a good job reacting to that. I've been on the other side of a 20 point lead with 17 minutes to go. That's a lot of basketball still to play. And sometimes you can't play as free as you did building it. And that happened a little bit. We wanted to put them on the foul line. Because we felt that their percentages said make them make free throws. We gave ourselves a chance. I'm, you know, I'm very proud, but I told our guys out there, maybe we'll have to press more next year. The way that looked.
Q. You talked about playing loosely and freely, was that where you wanted it today? COACH MIKE BREY: Yeah, I mean I think we came out ready to go. We were running. I liked we were going in transition. Again, I thought we got some good looks early that didn't go down. And when you're playing loosely and freely, sometimes you shoot it a little fast. That could help you, that can hurt you. It bit us a little bit at times in the first half. Especially when we were up seven. But you can't ratchet it back and you can't have guys with free minds all of a sudden a little tight. I thought overall it would play its way back around for us. THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, coach.
COACH MIKE BREY: Thanks.
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Marshall and then we'll go to questions for the student athletes. COACH MARSHALL: First of all, it's a great day to be a Eagle. It's a wonderful occasion for these players, this program, this university. And the community that we represent. It's been a long time coming. It looked very good about midway through the second half. And then it all of a sudden we just, there was a leprechaun that was closing that rim, couldn't hit a free throw. But we made the plays. Once we got down one, these guys made the plays like they did all year long and for that matter for the last three years for Mike and the last four years for the other two. I'm very proud to coach these players.
Q. Can you guys just talk about what it means to fine finally get over the hump. TORRELL MARTIN: I just want to give honor to God first off. Because without him we couldn't even made it this far. It was just a blessing. It feels great to be up here. Knowing we got the victory. We played a great ND team and they played great. All we can do is prepare the best that we can and that's what we did and it got us the victory but it feels great. It was an unbelievable feeling that I'm feeling right now and I'm sure my teammates feel the same. MIKE JENKINS: I second that. It feels great to finally get over the hump. We have been working so hard this year. That was a goal after the Tennessee game last year from the moment we got back to the locker room for our team meeting at the end of the season and we knew we could get here, but we wanted to get, we wanted to advance. We knew we would be a strong squad and that was always on our mind throughout the season to get here and show the world what kind of basketball we could play. CRAIG BRADSHAW: Like Torrell this is my senior year, it's just a special moment for me. I've been trying to get this one for the last four years and to finally get it is a great feeling and hopefully we can keep on going.
Q. Looking from the other perspective, you had a 20 point lead and all of a sudden that's gone. What were your feelings then and what did you think you had to do at that point? TORRELL MARTIN: Any great team has a good run in them. So I knew at one point they were going to make their run and come back. I knew it was going to be how we responded to their run which ultimately determined the outcome of the game. We handled it well. They came back, they took the lead, but we went on another run and that ultimately propelled us to the victory MIKE JENKINS: We were expecting them to do that. We knew they were a good basketball team. The coach would have them ready to make a run. But I know I didn't expect them to make a 20 point run. But they did. And we didn't make some plays for that while. But we in the end a veteran squad made the plays in the end and the 20 point comeback didn't mean anything. CRAIG BRADSHAW: Last couple years we have been in some scoring droughts late in the second half. I was telling the team we can't let that happen. We knew they would come back. They did. Just credit to our guys for being poised and confident down the stretch.
Q. Craig, speaking of that 20 point lead and the comeback, did you guys maybe subconsciously become a little bit flat with the lead and stop doing what you had been doing? CRAIG BRADSHAW: I don't think so. We had a good run there. Straight out the bat of the second half. It's a they made some good shots and we just had to lock them down and keep doing our thing. Keep going inside out and get easy baskets.
Q. Michael, talk a little about the job you did on Colin and it seemed like you were pretty much everywhere he was? MIKE JENKINS: Yeah, that was in my mind the whole time. Coach got it in my mind. Stay on him and no open looks. Because he's a great shooter. And that was just in my mind to stay on him, stay on him, don't let him get the ball. If he do get the ball pressure him as much as I can and make it hard for him to make any shots.
Q. Craig, can you talk about what it was like underneath the basket with all their big guys and could Michael and Torrell address Craig's play especially in that last run that you guys made to put it away. CRAIG BRADSHAW: I think the first half I played them good inside out. I think in the first half I got a little itchy and didn't see their triple team, double team where I should have kicked it out. And I just had to relax in the second half. I think that happened. My teammates gave me the ball, and we made easy baskets. TORRELL MARTIN: Every time we come out we usually look inside that's usually our goal. A lot of times we end up shooting a lot of threes, but as a veteran squad we learned that tonight was not the night for that. So we continued to look inside to our monster down low and let him go to work. We'll take one out of every two baskets for him or every two. It just doesn't really matter. As long as we get the ball inside Craig is going to get his. MIKE JENKINS: Craig came to me, he was like, Michael, get the ball inside, inside out and I took that to heart second half and came out, I mean first half, we came out second half ready to get my big man the ball because I know he was ready. I could see in his eyes that he was ready to make plays. And I did that.
Q. Craig, you've played in some big stages before, World Championships and Olympics, can you kind of talk about this atmosphere that you have seen in this tournament this year and how this kind of compares to what you've seen on the world stage? CRAIG BRADSHAW: It's a great feeling. Can't say which one is better. The Olympics or whatever. I just coming from New Zealand we don't really follow the sports that well and over here that's the biggest thing. And being involved with the NCAA tournament is a great feeling for me, knowing that a lot of players pack home won't get this chance. And it's an honor for me and my family.
Q. You guys had a little trouble at the line in the second half shooting free throws. How did you feel when Chris hit that three. That give you a little breathing space? TORRELL MARTIN: I believe Mike passed that to him. MIKE JENKINS: Yeah. TORRELL MARTIN: I was just like, I remember looking in Mike's eyes and telling him that's what you do. Because he made a lot of great plays of distributing the basketball tonight and I told him that's your role tonight, you keep doing it. And he did. He got Chris gain a wide open shot and that was like a point of relief because it was kind of ended the little drought. We make shots when it's time and that's what we did tonight. MIKE JENKINS: Yeah, I know I'm a great shooter and I saw that I wasn't shooting the ball well tonight so once I got the ball and Colin Falls went for the steal I was wide open, but somewhere in my mind it was like you haven't made anything really this whole game. So when I saw Chris, I went ahead and passed it to him and Chris being the clutch player that he is knocked down that big shot there.
Q. Can you gays talk about the whole Junkyard Dog thing? It may seem corny to some people, but how have you guys kind of embodied that? TORRELL MARTIN: It's giving us some inner squad competition. I personally try to get it every game. If I have to fall, I'm trying to scrape my knee to get it. But it's just something else to add, it's a good coaching tactic from Coach Marshall is to give you something else to motivate you to play hard. And whether we had it or not we still played hard but it definitely give you something else to look forward to. MIKE JENKINS: Oh, yeah, Junkyard Dog, I got it a couple times, but we go out there coach engrains in us in practice, man, you always go got to play hard, get on the floor every loose ball. Being a mid major we got to come up with the intangibles. We came up with the lunch pails and hard hats stats. We got to dive on the floor and get the loose balls. That's what coach wants us to do and we went ahead and did that today and got most of the loose balls I believe and came out with the victory. THE MODERATOR: While the Winthrop student athletes are leaving the stage we'll take questions now for the coach.
Q. We'll just follow up, who got the Junkyard Dog today? COACH MARSHALL: I would have to go back and I will look at the video. I know that other than the run that Notre Dame got, we were able to come up with more loose balls, I know that for a fact. We out rebounded them. And I think that was the key to getting us the 20 point lead to begin with. I thought our guys were a little quicker to the ball and we were very relentless on the glass. And that's that was a key to the game. I'll determine that I think right now we're going to give it to the whole team. Just going to keep it right in that locker room and hope to be able to take it to St. Louis.
Q. Can you kind of put this victory into perspective historically speaking for Winthrop? COACH MARSHALL: It's huge. It's huge for me personally. It's huge for these players right here. It's huge for our team. Our program. It's huge for our league. Being the first time a Big South team has ever won a game. It's huge for the State of South Carolina, I don't know when the last time they won a game in the tournament. It's really big and it means a lot. It's been, it's been nine years. Nine years of pouring your heart and soul into something and being close in the past but knowing that everything that we have done in the past 12 months from the time that shot went in against Tennessee last year, we've been dedicated to this moment. And that's a lot to invest in something. And if that 20 point lead had evaporated and we had lost that game, boy, I was going to be the dumbest coach in America. But right now I look at least like I have some sense, and quite honestly, it just is very, very important. We have put a lot into it. We took the team overseas in May. I had a job offer and rescinded it within 24 hours and then you've got to just coach that same group that has meant so much to this school. They represent this school very, very well. And they're just wonderful people. It means a lot to all of us.
Q. Is it safe to say that the Eagle has landed? COACH MARSHALL: The Eagle has landed. A small step for the Eagle, but a large step for our university. It's just it's great. Coaches are a little looney to begin with and I got my four leaf clover. Tomorrow's Saint Patrick's Day, we're playing the Irish, lucky number seven, all of those things. And there's a guy in Rock Hill and we're having a dinner at Thursday's Too restaurant on Monday with one of our board of trustee members, Cathy Bigham was generous to take care of the team. And as the this guy is walking out of the restaurant he just comes over to me, and he says, Kit Myers and he says, coach, I want you to have my tie and please wear it in the NCAA tournament. And it was like are you kidding? And I got some nice ties. But I'm wearing this guy's tie and today. So we're all a little bit nervous and Tom Webb gave me three four leave clovers. We talked to him the day before we left and he put that in my mailbox the day we left. So it's just all these things have come together and it's culminated in this big victory.
Q. Notre Dame was up seven in the first half and got possession of the ball and they can stretch the lead can you talk about what it took to turn that around for you maybe X's and O's wise? COACH MARSHALL: It took some good defense. If you look at it, we held them and they are a great scoring team. We watched video where they score 80 and 80 and 80. We held them to 64 points. Now they did miss some free throws, but we held them to 64 points. We held them to 42 percent shooting. And 18 percent from the 3 point line. So that's a key. If we can hold people like Notre Dame to 64 points, we have a chance to win. And our defense buckled down, I think from that point forward they didn't score too many points in the rest of the half. And even into the first five minutes of the second half.
Q. I know you always prepare with a lot of confidence. Did you kind of feel today was your day? Did you kind of maybe some good omens that you might be willing to share early in the day or just kind of talk about the feelings going in. COACH MARSHALL: Well, I knew that we were a capable team. I thought our seed should have been a little higher and I'm not going to complain about the seed. We won, we got the matchup, not that we wanted, he we once we started watching film we said this team is really good. I had not watched Coach Brey's team. I have in the past. I remember Quinn and before that the other point guard Chris Thomas, but I hadn't seen this Colin Falls, Russell Carter. So once I got into it I went, oh, geez, this is not a good matchup. But then right before the game I met this Notre Dame gentleman I'm out just wandering or looking for where people are going to sit and meeting media people and I meet this Notre Dame gentleman who was so nice, he acted like he was in my way and he jumped out of his seat to get out of the way and I said, no, you're fine, go ahead and sit down. He goes, well I just need to stretch my legs, I'm a little nervous about this game. And he had a Notre Dame sweat shirt. And I said, why are you nervous? I just don't like this draw. This team is really good. Have you seen this team? They're like a bunch of gazelles and the next thing you know, I said, yeah, I seen them, I coach them. And goes, no, you don't. At that at that point I felt like, hey, we got a chance because this guy is really nervous. But he was a wonderful, wonderfully nice man and maybe his thoughts were good. I always underestimate my team because we're scratching and clawing and we're supposedly a mid major, we're in a low major league, all of that stuff. But we got some high major players. And right now we feel like we're at least a mid major program. Today.
Q. You talk about what you have seen or kind of scouted on the potential two opponents and I know particular Oregon you were there and played them a couple years ago, maybe start with them and just kind of what you've seen on them and the possibility of Miami. COACH MARSHALL: Well, one of the benefits to being in this profession for some years which I have now been in this business for a number of years, is I've coached against all of these coaches in this little pod, if you will, I was in the MAC for one year and coached against Coach Coles. I know what Miami of Ohio does. We went out and played Oregon, like you said, in Eugene a couple years ago. It was a great ball game. I know that they have got, they like to get up and down and really shoot it and talking about a bunch of gazelles, that's what they are. And I remember Brooks as a young kid he was a freshman then so, what is he a junior now? And he's tremendous. And I also coached as an assistant coach against Coach Brey when he was a head coach at Delaware. So you know, it's interesting we have already started breaking down film of Miami of Ohio and Oregon. We have not done that in the past to be quite honest with you. But we have already done that. One of my assistant coaches, Earl Grant has Oregon, Coach Molinari has Miami and as soon as I get out of here I'm going to go watch the game myself. So hopefully we can get a good feel for the winner of this next game.
Q. I was lucky enough to be with you guys during this whole week of practice and I was really impressed with how physical and rough you guys practiced. There was some concussions, some blood on the court. Do you anticipate going like that tomorrow? COACH MARSHALL: Not tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a day where we got to really rest our legs and work our minds. It will be a physical we'll shoot some free throws, I can guarantee you that. But we will work on Oregon, or Miami and just try to in a quick turn around get prepared mentally, because I thought we had Notre Dame down. I thought that Randy Peele and my staff did a wonderful job in preparing our team for Notre Dame. I thought that and that's part of the reason that those shooting percentages are there. Most of the times that they took a shot, there was a big time hand in the face and there was a quite a bit of contesting of the shot. So we got a turnaround, I don't foresee any concussions or blood on the floor tomorrow.
Q. I know you had the four leaf clovers and the lucky tie and all that stuff, and whatever that is, what about having Craig Bradshaw? COACH MARSHALL: This guy right here. Yeah. I think he's a little more valuable than any of those other three items that I mentioned. And we're trying to find someone from Oregon, Craig Bradshaw was just dominant. I didn't think they could guard him inside then he steps out and hits a couple threes. He made his free throws, he ran the court and got a did you think when we really needed it. He did a great job defensively with all of their guy, just causing them problems. The guy is a great player and you think he can play at the highest level. And I'm not a NBA executive, but I would like to see him and Torrell get that opportunity. So, yeah, that's the most valuable thing is this, these quality players that we were able to bring to the dance.