Game Talk

ANAHEIM, Calif - The Wildcats put together one of their most impressive games of the season, beating Notre Dame 88-71. The ‘Cats clicked on both sides of the ball, controlling the flow of the action from the midpoint of the first half throughout the remainder of the game. Arizona blew the game open with a 22-3 run in the first half.

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Lute Olson

Overview of the game:
"Both teams came out and ready to go and relaxed. Any time that you see teams come out and shoot the ball the way that both teams shot it early, you know that they're ready to play. The thing that happened from our end of it, we ended up with a lot of opportunities off of the break. I thought that we did a good job of getting the ball ahead. We shot the ball well. They shot the ball well. In the second half, neither team shot it well, but I think that some of that had something to do with the pace of the game. On the other hand I think that we became inpatient. In the first half we moved the ball and ended up with great shots. Our defense stayed consistent. We knew that we had to cut down on the three point opportunities that they had and I think that we did a good job of that."

On the flow of the game:
"Well they came out and just shots the lights out early too. All year long we've been a team that's been able to put together really good runs and the really good runs are a result of our defense. We ended up with some steals and ended up with deflections on some of their shots that ended up with us getting fast break opportunities. It's not unusual for us. Almost every game that you look at there's a time period where, I don't know what happens, but the confidence level gets there and defense is what really comes on. Notre Dame didn't shoot the ball like they normally shoot it, and this year when we don't shoot the ball as well as we normally do it's because of the defense and I think that Notre Dame had a difficult time getting really good looks."

On the balanced scoring:
If you take a look at our scoring percentages we've got five guys in double and we've got Hassan and Andre coming off the bench who've done a great job and the only reason that their numbers have gone down has been because we haven't played them as much as we did before. But I think that today with the possibility of this being a track meet, we needed to get some early help there…those two guys came in a did and unbelievable job. If you take a look at the steals that we got and Hassan had 3 and Andre had two.

On the play of Channing Frye:
He got some big points early and we felt that we could hurt them some inside because they really get out and press the ball hard on the perimeter, so we knew that there would be a lot of one-on-one opportunities in there and I thought that Channing did a really good job of being really aggressive early. And probably in the 2nd half he was trying to be too unselfish where he had the ball but instead of taking it hard there was a kick out and he ended up missing some shots that he normally wouldn't miss. He changed a lot of shots defensively as well.

On whether Channing can match-up with bigger Centers:
I think that Channing can match up pretty well with anyone. Francis was unbelievable for them. Some of (Francis' scores) were when Francis was at the four spot and Channing was guarding the five. One of the things that has been said about west coast basketball is that we're soft but I don't think that's the case at all. I think that we've proven that through the years. Our guys don't back down to anybody.

On the team trying to control Francis in the second half:
We tried to keep the ball out of his hands. In the first half what we had told our guys was that we can't afford to come on doubles and leave guys open for 3 point shots. In the second half we told them the second (the ball) hits Francis we're running at him with our hands up…I thought that the guys that came on the double did a great job in getting deflections that led to easy buckets on the other end. He only got three shots off in the second half and I think that is because the guys we had coming off the double came really quickly.

On Jason Gardner's leadership:
He is such a tremendous competitor and he's a man of few words, but there's no question that he's the leader of the team. (He and Luke) together are great. Jason is the guy with the ball that starts things and I think that he really used great judgement tonight. I thought that he did a great job on Chris Thomas. You notice Chris had 7 turnovers and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that Jason did a great job of keeping (Thomas) in front of him.

Jason Gardner

On the team's 22-3 first half run:
The coaches told us to get out and deny a little bit and we got some deflections and rebounded the ball well.

On the contributions of Hassan Adams:
I think that he did a great job. He came in with a lot of defensive intensity.

On the defensive intensity:

I think that a lot of times when we are getting shots it makes our defense go because we want to get the ball down court and I think that our defensive intensity gets better (from that).

On Thomas' steal from Gardner being the catalyst for the Arizona 22-3 run:
I think that it was great defense by Chris, but it got myself going. I started pushing the ball all little bit, Coach O gave me a stare so I knew that I couldn't let that happen again and I think it kind of got me going.

On the team's ball movement:
We talk about family in the locker room and we talk about moving the ball and I think that we did a great job of making the extra passes. When we're making the extra pass I think that it gets everybody involved in the offense and everybody gets shots and everybody's happy.

Luke Walton

On the team's first half run:
The key to our run was just staying on them. When we push the ball up we get a lot teams tired and if we can keep up the defensive intensity, that's when we go on runs and limit teams to one shot so I think they got a little tired because we kept that up.

On his strong play in the second half:
I was getting good looks in the first half I just wasn't hitting them. In the second half Jason did a great job of recognizing that I was feeling good and getting me the ball.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

On Arizona's strong play:
We got beat by a heck of a basketball team and I'm very impressed with Arizona. We were going to have to score more than 71 points to make it interesting. I'm so impressed with their older guys Anderson, Walton and Gardner playing with such a nice tempo they don't panic, and they're so skilled. It kind of makes the yougner guys calmn down and it was just a little too much for us to handle this afternoon.

On the pace of the game:
I thought that we had to be in a track frame of mind, like we were in the first half against Illinois, and I thought for a portion of the first half that was good for us. They went on a run, their defense got very good and I thought they pressured us well. We took some quick ones but I thought we were going to have to shoo it fearlessly in order to beat this basketball team.

On his team's play:
You know we're no mystery as a team, we need (three pointers) to go in. During their run we took quick shots a couple of times and they got down and scored so quickly that we got down and buried ourselves. They're so hard to get stops on.

On the health of Matt Carroll:
I think he was 100%, he made his first couple. I think Stoudamire's quickness got into him and that maybe rattled him.

Chris Thomas

On Arizona's play:
It seems like they shot 80%. They got good looks. On that stretch (when AZ pulled away), we took quick shots and that triggered their transition offense…when you give a team like Arizona that much confidence, that much time to run the break, and use their athleticism, then they're tough to stop.

On the future of Notre Dame basketball:
The bar has been raised. You have to take into consideration that Arizona has been here 15 straight years, we've been here 3 straight years. I think there's a lot for us to take away from this.

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