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Postgame Quotes

Jan. 7, 2017

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Opening Statement:

“First of all, I give credit to Coach [Rick] Pitino and Louisville. They played well. Obviously, they are a great basketball team. For us, that first four or five minutes it was like the movie Jaws or something – you’re just on the ocean and all of a sudden Jaws comes up and just comes and eats you. Other than that we played great. We gave every ounce of effort and energy and we tried the best we could.

“We’re fighting like crazy, we’re just limited offensively. It’s hard for us. We need to find some other scorers and when Quinton [Stephens] and Tadric [Jackson] combined for 1-for-13 – and it’s nothing against those guys because Quinton is giving every ounce of energy that he has got, Tadric is trying – we just need another scorer. We need more scoring. It’s not pressure on them. It’s just the reality of the situation. We’re just too limited offensively that we’ve got to have guys score for us. I’ve said it all along, for us to win, we’ve got to get to 70 [points] or plus. It’s like Georgia, we held them in the 50s until we started fouling late, [so] we’ve got to be able to win the game but we’ve got to be able to score. Louisville, they get to 60 but only until we started fouling, so really we held them to 60, [so] you’ve got to be able to win the game. That’s a credit to those other teams defensively but we’ve got to be able to score the ball. It’s why we won at VCU, it’s why we won against North Carolina – we broke the 70-point barrier. But we’re trying everything that we’re able to do.

“We obviously have to take care of the basketball, they had a couple rebounds there late. Those guard rebounds, I’m all about 50/50 balls and we missed some of those guard rebounds late there. Those are some big rebounds late which they converted eight points off of – two threes and a bucket – but we need to come up with those loose ball, 50/50 rebounds and guard rebounding is everything. We just weren’t good enough in that area today.

“We’ll bounce back at it. We’re right there. In this three-game stretch, playing three teams that could win the national championship, to come out 1-2 and besides the first five minutes of this game, to have played pretty well for the most part in terms of effort, energy and defensively, I think there’s a lot of build on and we’ll have to just keep working and get better.”

On Louisville’s defense:
“They’re just so long and big. I don’t know how many more teams are longer than them or bigger than them and they’re a big team and they’re long. They give you problems because they’re in the passing lane there. To Ben Lammers’ credit, he had a career high tonight. I think he had a great first half but he was really good the second half. Josh [Okogie] and Ben combined for 39 of our 50 and that’s where I’m going back to we need another scorer or two. At least one but we need another one or two guys to score the ball for us. We’re just severely limited in that. We need guys to just step up and put the ball in the basket for us. That’s critical for our success.”

On Ben Lammers’ performance and continued improvement:
“[Louisville head coach] Rick Pitino told me before the game that he’s the most improved player in the league by a mile, maybe the most improved player he’s seen in the last 10 years in college basketball. To go where he was, where [Pitino] didn’t think he was really good, to where he is … that’s a credit to Ben. Full credit goes to Ben but also to [our] assistant coaches. I think Coach [Eric] Reveno does a great job with the bigs. Darryl LaBarrie, Tavaras Hardy, all those guys spend a lot of time with individual instruction. So you’ve got to give the player, Ben Lammers, and the assistants a lot of credit on that.”

Opening Statement:

“Any time you can get a road win, especially in conference play, you’ll absolutely take it. Not only because it was a road win, but because we started 0-2 in league. We really, really needed this game. We don’t use the term ‘must-win game,’ but this was about as close to one as you could get. I thought our guys did a great job tonight of paying attention to the scouting report in how we were going to defend them and executing it in the first half especially. They really locked in the past couple days after the Notre Dame game and came out and did what they needed to defensively. Offensively, [we] shot the ball well against their zone. It got a little stagnant there in the second half for a little bit of a stretch but [we] did a good job of finishing out and overcoming their run. They made a great run to cut it to three. With the exception of making free throws, I thought we played a pretty good game.”

How did Deng Adel’s injury change the game plan?
“It definitely did. Obviously, V.J. [King] is playing about 13 to 14 minutes per game but his role had to step up immensely. David Levitch had to come in and play some great minutes. Jay Henderson had to come in. Moving forward, we don’t know what Deng’s situation is going to be but that’s kind of just Louisville basketball. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why in practice every day, we coach and get after the 15th guy on the team as much as we do the first guy on the team. You never know when you might need him. I thought that our bench did a great job of coming in and stepping up. Hopefully, Deng will be back soon but we’ll have to see how it goes.”

Did you anticipate opportunities for weak-side threes entering the game?
“We knew they were probably going to come out and play a zone. We expected that and not just because we hadn’t been shooting the ball great from three, but because they play pretty much everybody [in] zone to start the game. I thought our guys, Q [Quentin Snyder], Donavan [Mitchell] and Deng [Adel], did a great job of getting in the lane. When you get the ball in the lane, the defense has to collapse and then we did a great job of kicking it out. It’s a good thing we shot well from three because, like I said, our free throws weren’t very good. But we took good shots. I think we only had three or four challenged shots on the night as opposed to nine last game.”

Were you surprised Ben Lammers had as much success as he did?
“I wouldn’t say we were surprised. We knew coming in that he was the most improved player probably in the league right now and definitely one of the most in the country. His improvement from last year to this year is incredible. We made a couple mistakes in the second half where our bigs rotated too early to block the shot. We made the adjustment in one of the timeouts and we did a good job of staying at home on Lammers when their guards drove and we just kind of forced the guards to score. We knew he was the key to their team. We did a good job on him in the first half but he got going in the second half. He’s a good player. He’s going to have good nights.”


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