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Louisville-Houston Postgame Quotes


Jan. 16, 2014

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Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino

(Opening statement)
(This was) a really good night for us. Our enthusiasm was off the charts. We were ready to play from the moment the ball went up. We have a lot for respect for our opponent and it was very exciting to be on the sidelines and watch these guys perform. I am very excited about all the guys - they played terrific. They didn’t let up. It’s not very often we see a team in the second half win the second half with a big lead. They were totally focused in on passing the ball. We had 23 assist on 34 buckets, which is outstanding. Great passing tonight. I am really excited for our guys.”

(On Wayne Blackshear’s play coming off the bench)
“Yeah and he was just about of gas. Wayne (Blackshear) is a product of playing 13 or 14 minutes and being in foul trouble, and what happens is you lose your aggressiveness. You don’t feel like you can be aggressive anymore. He was very aggressive tonight and did a lot of different things, so I was proud of him and happy for him.”

(On players who don’t get as many minutes playing more this game)
“Anton (Gill) and Akoy (Agau), and I have said many times, are going to very good basketball players. They are just behind at the defensive end, but offensively, they can play. They are as good as any of our guys, but defensively, they’re behind. They are going to be very good players in our program, so I was excited they could get minutes like they did tonight. I didn’t expect this, so it was exciting to see.”

(On 23 assists on the 34 made baskets and whether the team is passing better)
“I think that this team went for a few ball fakes, and I think our guys were thinking pass before shot. Every time you pass the ball stepping into a 3, good things happen. You noticed we missed a lot off the dribble and dribbling into the 3 in the second half. When you can step in off a pass - and we work very hard in practice and individual instruction on reversing the basketball and stepping into the shot. Every shooting drill we do is off that. The guys were brilliant at passing the basketball.”

(On Terry Rozier’s play despite not shooting well)
“He was very consistent. Terry’s got to stop worrying about scoring; our philosophy is shoot as many times as you want as long as it’s a good shot. He’s got to stop concerning himself with that. He’ll mature in that area.”

(On seeming defensive improvement from Montrezl Harrell)
“We’ve been working very hard on stance, worked very hard on moving our feet; we did a lot of really good things. The only thing defensively we weren’t really good at tonight was transition defense. Sometimes when you spot up in the corners, if you don’t immediately react, you’re going to get beat and we didn’t react very well. We were 11 for 16 they were 11 for 17.”

(On whether he was happy with Mangok Mathiang’s and Stephan Van Treese’s play tonight)
“You know, I can’t find a fault, period. Even Pistol (David Levitch) was terrific; he went by his man and made a great move to the basket. He’s a very emotional kid, you can see that ... a corpse is more emotional.”

(On the quick turnaround between tonight’s game and Saturday’s game at Connecticut)
“Yes, but Connecticut is playing too. They’re probably going to beat Memphis and we know it’s going to be a great game. They’ve got one of the premiere back courts. I wish Chris (Jones) was playing - he’s not going to play, I wish he was - but I have a lot of confidence in Tim Henderson.”

Houston Head Coach James Dickey

(Opening statement)
“Well, Louisville played great. They really came out and they punched us in the mouth early and hard and I thought they played a terrific game. One of the great things they did - they had 23 assists - they shared the ball well. They found the open man. We did not respond after we got those four quick fouls and we just didn’t play with energy and they pounded us.”

(On why they failed to make a comeback after doing so in their previous game versus Cincinnati)
“We just didn’t find the energy tonight. That’s a good point. We just didn’t have energy and they hit big shots. They shot the ball well. They had 11 3s in the first half. Obviously, (Wayne) Blackshear got the message, whatever it was. I thought he really responded and played terrific for them. I thought early they did a good of penetrating off the ball screens and getting to the paint and finding the open man. Russ (Smith) is terrific at doing that. Then, when you look at the number of assists they had - (Terry) Rozier played great, he had eight assists in the game. He found the open guy and everybody was hitting shots. They had good balance in the first half as far as their shot selection. We just, we didn’t have the energy and it’s disappointing that we didn’t get after it better.”

(Talk about the scoring drought in the second half.)
“You’ve got to finish at the rim and they were challenging, and we had some pretty good looks at it and you just have to finish. Another thing you have to do is you have to get to the free-throw line. We probably got there more; we didn’t hit them very well. You have to be more aggressive and be on the attack . I thought they were on the attack the entire game.”

(On the message at half time and after the game)
“At half, I just wanted us to come out and compete harder, play harder, guard, and go out there and defend. Now they made some 3s. Some of those were uncontested. We have to challenge those better. We just need to compete harder. It was overall a bad performance from our team. The big message is that we can’t let this turn into another loss; we have to be ready for Rutgers at home on Sunday. That is now a big get for us.”

(On trouble defending the three during the season)
“We need to close out with a great sense of urgency. The guys (Uof L) can shoot the ball really well. We knew they were a good 3-point shooting team. They utilized that weapon extremely well and they got really comfortable doing that tonight. We just have to close out with a quicker sense of urgency and get our hands up to discourage shoots and challenge shots better.”

TaShawn Thomas, Junior, Forward
(About responding to being down against Cincinnati)
“We just need to put this behind us. We have a quick turnaround with the game at Rutgers on Sunday. (We need to) Try to get it out of the way and get ready for Sunday.”

(About message to his team)
“My message to the team is when somebody punches you in the mouth, you need to respond. I feel like every time we tried to respond they kept coming at us. They punched us again and punched us again. I feel like if our team would have at least responded a little bit, it wouldn’t have been that much of a loss.”



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