Dec. 15, 2012
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No. 6 Louisville (9-1) 87, Memphis (6-3) 78
Memphis, Tenn. (FedExForum)
Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner
I thought we had a chance to win the game. We had a 10-point lead in the second half and they hit three back-to-back-to-back threes. We were in a zone to protect our foul trouble. They were 1-of-8 in the first half from three, and they hadn’t shot well from three all year long. We have to give them credit for making them. We had 24 turnovers, that was quite a bit. They had their points off of turnovers, 29-14. This one stings, but we have to be ready to go against Lipscomb on Thursday. The guys played hard bottom line. It was a good basketball game.
On the energy from the team
I thought we had great energy in the first half, and for the most part, in the second half. There was a four-minute stretch there were I felt we had a deflation of energy. I think it was during that time period when they hit those multiple shots. I told the guys in the pregame, “Louisville is going to make runs, and we can’t get too high or too low.” The key is for our guards to take care of the ball. In our three losses, the guards either have not shot well or have turned it over a bunch.
Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
About the team effort, being beat up and kept fighting
I think the effort was great, and I reminded them at halftime about the way we play on the road. I said they played great, and we didn’t do smart things. We put in a lot of plays this week, a lot of things for Chane Behanan, and we ignored him, and it doesn’t pay to work on it all week. At halftime, I just gave them a piece of my mind saying, you’ve got a great player here, but you’re ignoring him. They got the message and they didn’t ignore him.
On Chane Behanan’s second half performance
He was a great player. He deserves all the credit. He’s working really to get back, and we’re going to continue to go to him. And Russ [Smith] has got to realize that the great players play well in the final 5-7 minutes of the game, not early on. What great guards do is get the ball inside, get it to the people to motivate them to play better defense.
Adjustment to injuries and the heart of the team
I think they got great heart. I think they’re a fun team to coach. I think that we made some vital mistakes in the first half, but this was as good of a crowd that we’ve played in in quite some time. It will rival any BIG EAST crowd, certainly, great arena, great fans, great crowd, and we had to battle all the elements tonight to get a victory, and we did. We did a good job in the second half of moving the basketball, and answering their three’s, Kevin [Ware] made a big three, Chane [Behanan] made a big three and Luke [Hancock] a couple of big threes. We’re shooting the ball much better in practice, but the movement was much better offensively in the second half.
Performance at the free throw line
We’ve been improving in all phases, the first half I was really upset at the guys because we worked all week on getting Chane [Behanan] the ball, and we didn’t get it to him. In the second half, we did a good job.
Importance on keeping the rivalry with Memphis going
After I worked for two months trying to promote Memphis to the BIG EAST, and everybody knows how much I love the BIG EAST, I’d like to keep it going a long time. Great fans, great environment. I’m really upset, and I don’t want to blame football. I don’t want to blame greed, I don’t want to blame all the icon presidents that just are going for all the money and giving up 75 years of tradition, and that’s what it is. Because, money shouldn’t make women’s sports suffer, and minor sports suffer when they have to take three different flights, while the rest of us takes charter for two sports. A school that just left for the Big 12, their closest school is 800 miles. What do all those women do? What do all the minor sports do? So everybody is leaving all this great tradition for money, and I understand money is important in all walks of life, but how much do you need? I mean, we were desperate, and we wanted to stay in the BIG EAST badly, but we probably would have lost football. You know football is really important to Louisville.
I love Memphis, love the town, love the people, love the rivalry. It’s a great rivalry. I’d love to continue it. We have to see what’s going to happen with the BIG EAST next year. I think Josh [Pastner] is a terrific young coach, going to get better and better and better. Everybody always gets on young coaches, but I know one thing, I wish I was his age now, but he’s much better than me when I was his age. He’s going to do a terrific job with this program, already has.