“I think you have to give Rick and their players a ton of credit. I thought we did a good job for most of the game and they made some big plays down the stretch. Obviously a couple of those threes were big for them. We had some defensive lapses at the end of the game. But again, I am disappointed in the result. That’s a tough one to swallow again. We played much more like we are supposed to play though in terms of the defensive effort, the energy that we played with, and in terms of sharing the ball and taking care of the ball. We ask a lot of Marcus [Georges Hunt] as a junior. He’s kind of a go-to-guy for us. And against this team, he’s got to handle the ball a lot, make plays and make shots. And on the other end, he has to defend their best perimeter player in Rozier. So he’s getting challenged quite a bit in every area. But he keeps coming back, which is good to see, in terms of his attitude and the effort-level that he is playing with.
I thought there was a key stretch there with a couple of turnovers, but for the most part, I thought we followed our game plan pretty well. You cannot go 4-10 from the free throw line when you play a top-20 team and you want to win the game. I thought we did a great job on the glass, but they got some timely rebounds. That’s why they are a top-20 team. They made timely threes and got timely offensive rebounds. And unfortunately, we were not able to do the same.”
Tough shooting night for both teams
“Both teams played pretty good defense. Sometimes you say, ‘What’s the matter with your offense?’ And you have to remember there is a team playing defense against you. I think they were holding teams, for the season, at about a 34 percent field goal percentage. We shot 41 percent. Why did we shoot 41 percent? We were able to get some stops, some rebounds, and some transition baskets. Again, you can see that we are a much better team when we get the ball out and run. You are not going to be able to do that all that time. So now you are going to have to score some in the half court and have a post option. And I agree with him [Coach Pitino] that Rozier took the game over in the second-half. That’s why they are projecting him as a top-15 pick in the draft.”
On Louisville’s offensive rebounds late in the game
“I think there were probably two out of three possessions they got offensive rebounds on. I know that on one possession they missed a shot, got a rebound and had a two-point put back. The big one was when they hit the three on the left side off of a rebound. And it happens. You have got to fight through it. We made a mistake on the coverage on that play. I think Harrell got the ball on a slip to the rim, but missed it. We batted the ball around. They missed a shot, batted the ball around, came up with the ball again and made the last three. Those plays are always highlighted because they are at the end. But you make so many plays before that to put yourself in that position.”
On nine assists in the first half
“Their pressure heated up a little bit on us in the second half. We were not able to get as many run-outs. One of the reasons why is because they shot 50% in the second half. They shot 25% in the second half. So much of our offense is predicated on getting defensive stops and rebounds. When they score, now they are able to setup their press. So we faced their press twice as much in the second half as we did in the first half.”