Quotes from Notre Dame players Tom Knight and Jerian Grant and Irish head coach Mike Brey after losing to Iowa State 76-58 Friday night in a second-round NCAA tournament game.
Just what was the problem with the turnovers? What were they able to do to force you guys into so many miscues?
TOM KNIGHT: Off those turnovers, they were able to run and get easy points. We were trying to limit that, but with 14 in the first half, it’s really hard to stop them from scoring easy points when you have that many turnovers.
JERIAN GRANT: Usually, we don’t turn the ball over like that. So it was just surprising, just mental mistakes that we usually don’t make. We picked the worst time to make them.
Q. Just how difficult is it just to have some struggles again in March and particularly in this tournament
JERIAN GRANT: You know, it hurts. All season, it felt like we had a team this year that could make a deep run in March, and I really believed that. I just feel like we picked the worst day to have our worst game.
All through the year, I felt like we turned the ball over less than ten times a game. To do it 14 times in the first half is something that’s hard to come back from. It’s something we don’t normally do, is turn the ball over, and that really hurts.
TOM KNIGHT: We’re obviously disappointed. Obviously, we want to get past the first round. That’s been our goal pretty much all year. Last year we got out in the first round, and we really haven’t made it past further than that the last few years.
It really hurts we couldn’t do it for our seniors and for the rest of the guys on our team.
Q. A little bit off of the last question. The struggles in the tournament for you the last few years, how difficult is this for you to take?
BREY: I really would think it’s the next step for our program. We’ve been so consistent in the regular season, and we haven’t been able to do much here. That’s what keeps me up at night and keeps me trying to figure out how we can be better at it.
That’s what’s very extremely disappointing about tonight. Go back to the drawing board and try and figure it out. Now we’ve got to maneuver a new league next year. We’ve got to come out of a new league,
But that’s like the unfinished business for this program. It’s really well respected nationally. It had a great identity in the Big East. It will be interesting to see what it is in the ACC. We even got to the semis of the Big East four years in a row.
But this is a hump we can’t get over yet, but we’ll keep trying to figure it out.
Q. Especially for a team like you, which plays two traditional bigs, how much pressure does it put on you guys that they can put five players on the court that can make shots?
BREY: It’s very hard. It was hard to play two big guys. We tried to go small a couple times, and in hindsight maybe we should have played more that way.
They’re very, very hard to guard. They’re really good. And with Niang in the middle kind of wheeling and all those guys spreading you out, they’re kind of a nightmare matchup.
Again, I don’t want to take anything away. They’re just really good, and they’re men. They’re really men.
Q. Coach, you mentioned the turnovers. Just what was Iowa State able to do to force those turnovers?
BREY: I think I’ll give 50 percent credit to their defense, and then 50 percent is I just thought we played so fast. We played fast in the half court. We rushed things.
My guards have been so good all year with controlling tempo and making decisions, and it just wasn’t a very good night for them. When our guards aren’t in a good rhythm, as a matter of fact, we probably can’t beat anybody, and that was kind of the tone. We never really were able to recover.
But I just thought we played so excited and so fast.