“We feel very fortunate that game yesterday afternoon with the five extra minutes with the overtime, I think it did a lot to take some legs out of Notre Dame. We were fortunate, I thought we played really well defensively the last five or six minutes of the first half, but they also missed some shots. Then we started out the second half, we may have scored the first three out of four baskets.
“I thought defensively late in the first half we were really good. Again, we caught them where they were missing some of the shots. I think getting Auguste in foul trouble early was important to us. Only bad thing is about 30 seconds after he got his fourth foul, Brice got his fourth foul for us.
“But Isaiah, 15 rebounds, was a big force, to say the least. Marcus, seven assists, zero turnovers. Joel Berry, four assist and zero turnovers. You look down at points off of offensive rebounds, we had 20, they had five. They scored 23 against us at South Bend off of offensive rebounds. In South Bend, they had two turnovers.
“Today, I don't think they had their legs. They had 17 turnovers. But we played pretty well and happy as we can be to be in the finals.”
Coach, defensively what was the approach this evening and what was the difference in the first half?
“We went small at that time because I think it was a little over five minutes when Brice and Kennedy both picked up their second fouls. We went small. I think we were very active. We didn't foul them as much as we'd been fouling them before that.
“I think that Marcus and Theo, Isaiah, Joel, I'm trying to remember, Justin was the other guy in the game, all four of them were really active defensively.”
Historically this team has not performed very well without Brice. He was on the bench the entire six minutes at the end of the first half. What does it say about the progress of your bench that you can go on an 18-0 run with Brice on the bench?
“I think it says a lot for our team. Isaiah has been pretty doggone good for us all year long. That's the impressive part. I thought Theo came in, other than taking the worst charge I've ever seen in college basketball history, I thought Theo was pretty good for us. Marcus and Joel made some shots in the first half.
“I'll have to accept your word for it that we've played poorly without Brice in there, but I'd say Isaiah and the other guys have played well all year long. We want Brice in the game, no question about that.”
Roy, you said yesterday that to play for 40 minutes great defense is hard to do. How close was this effort?
“I thought there's no question that we were really good. But we still screwed it up sometimes. But that's the game of basketball, too. I thought our effort was there. I thought we talked in the first half on the defensive end of the floor maybe better than we have any game since maybe the Maryland game really, really early in the season. Played the drive a little bit better.
“But again, I think we caught Notre Dame -- I think their legs were a little heavy. The bottom line to answer the question is, I think this came closer than we've had in quite a while.”