Rick Pitino talks about the win over Virginia Tech

Damion Lee
AP Photo/Don Petersen

Louisville went on the road Wednesday night and got the 91-83 win over Virginia Tech. Here is what Coach Pitino had to say after the game.

Opening statement

(Virginia Tech Buzz Williams) would make a great pro coach. I’m not trying to get rid of him. But he’d make a great pro coach because he puts you in pick-and-roll isolations that hurt Virginia, that hurt us. They hurt everybody with it. That’s the professional game. To use 15, 16 seconds of the clock puts you in situations that are very difficult to guard. So he does a lot of great things with the pick-and-roll. We had to win this game on offense tonight.

On Trey Lewis (answer recorded already in progress)

… If you’re always looking to score, you’re going to have bad nights. If you look to pass, move the basketball, play great defense, you’re going to have great scoring nights. I told him that at halftime and he had a great second half because of it.

On Virginia Tech pushing the pace

They were driving on the 4 man. Everything (Williams) does on offense is difficult. He’s really one of the bright young coaches in our game. For his second year at Virginia Tech, he’s doing an awesome job. He really is.

On Louisville’s 12-of-18 from 3-point range

Passing. Everyone was — the extra pass to get open. That’s where Trey (Lewis), (Quentin Snider) and Damion (Lee) did a great job. We played without our best player tonight, and I said before the game they’re going to try to put him to the bench, and they did. Because (Chinanu Onuaku) has been getting into trouble with bumping guys and rebounding over their backs and he paid the price tonight.

On the teams being closer in rebounding than expected

Well, we shot such a high percentage we didn’t need the offensive rebounds as much, and we got to the line as well. This is not one of my better defensive teams. They’re not bad in the halfcourt. They’re nonexistent in the fullcourt. When you’ve got the likes of Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Terry Rozier, they’re lightning quick. Now we have different type of guards. We have to play more with our intellect than with our feet. We’ll get it. We’re getting better at it.

On Damion Lee

He was very patient. He moved without the basketball and did a great job with that. Both of those guys played well. We got a big lift out of Anas (Mahmoud) and Matz (Stockman). I think you guys in Louisville saw glimpses of the Matz I’ve been bragging about. He’s a good basketball player.

On Jaylen Johnson

The way he was holding (his arm) we thought it was totally broken and he had a miraculous recovery. I think he was just trying to scare the sh– out of me. … He was terrific. Now everyone in Louisville will be saying to make sure we start him next game. One of the reasons, like Mahmoud played great, one of the reasons why you can’t get him more minutes is exactly what happened. The moment (Onuaku) gets in foul trouble, you’ve got to use (Mahmoud) at the 5. If they both get in foul trouble, then you’re hurting. Once Mangok (Mathiang) comes back, we’re relieved of all that. Then we can start to play the best players that fit who we are playing against.

On winning with offense

Believe me, we live on defense, but we’re not a great defensive team this year. We are terrific offensive team. We have one bad shooting night — Clemson — and everybody thinks we’re a bad shooting team. We took 13 challenged shots. Last year we averaged nine challenged shots per game, and we shot less than 10 percent. This year, we’re averaging three per game. That night, against Clemson, we were 1 for 13. So, everybody got their 3-point shots and confidence thrown out. Lewis and Lee can shoot the hell out of the basketball. We’re a much better offensive team. Anytime you’re going sophomore, freshman, sophomore, freshman — and Lewis and Lee didn’t make their reputations on defense.

On Virginia coming up next

You know what’s interesting? They’re going away from that aggressive style a little bit because of all the fouls that are being called. When they used to blitz out and go after that guy … Now the slightest bump gets a foul with the new rules. They actually played seven possessions of zone the other night. I mean, (coach Tony Bennett’s) going to go right to hell with that. His father’s going to be really upset with him.

On 15 turnovers (20 percent of their possessions)

With 91 points, that bothers you? (Reporter: No, I’m asking if it bothers you.) It doesn’t bother me — with 91 points. If we scored 60, it would bother me. I think you have to give them credit for how aggressive they are at the defensive end.

Look, this team is taking everybody. They had Notre Dame beat. They’re down 10 with four minutes to go on the road vs. Georgia Tech and they never quit. They never stopped every possession. And that’s a reflection of their coach. They’re all getting better. (Zach) LeDay has gotten much better. (Seth) Allen is as tough a point guard as there is to defend.

Transcript from Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal.

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