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Louisville coach Chris Mack on loss to #2 UVA

louisvilleOpening Statement:

“There’s probably nothing that I can say that you haven’t heard before if you cover Virginia. They’re very impressive. They’re incredibly well-coached. I thought our guys battled, battled their tails off. We put ourselves in a position to win the game. I thought their composure versus our composure in the last three-four minutes probably decided the game. I’ve got to do a better job of making sure our team stays composed on the offensive end. I don’t think for one minute that our urgency on defense ever waned. I know there was a time they scored six of seven possessions or six in a row. I mean they’re really good. They’re really good. They’ve got guys that came off the bench. You know three seconds left in the shot clock and you have Braxton Key hitting a three. You have [Jay] Huff hitting top of the key threes at 7-foot-1. They’re a very, very talented team.”

On what his team did differently in this rematch:

“Well, I think we certainly scored a lot more in the paint. I think that paint points were 38-4, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a basketball game before. You take that personally. Our bigs felt like they let our team down. Today I thought we were a little more stout in the interior. You have to be. Virginia is going to play extremely physical. We got in the bonus, so we got to the free-throw line. 17 free throws isn’t like you’re in a turnstile getting to the line, but against Virginia it is. That could be 25 or 30 free throws against teams who play normal defense.”

On Ty Jerome’s play:

“I know that he was battling some back tightness, sitting out some practices and games. I don’t know if that affected him, but I told our staff at halftime he looked a lot quicker today. He’s got great size. He’s so composed. His ability to read a ball-screen. some of those hook passes with a couple seconds left in the shot clock, not too many college players can make that play. You give him a lot of credit. I did think his quickness level seemed different from my vantage point than it was when we played them at home.”

On if they can take any positives away from this loss:

“Absolutely. You know, again, nobody wants to come in second. We’re not in the locker room doing handstands and cartwheels. They got a chance to win it all. They do. They’re a veteran crew. They’ve got high-level talent. Tony is the best coach in the country. They know who they are. They know what their identity is. For the longest time, we struggled with our confidence for two-three weeks, and we didn’t play very well. I noticed a different spirit about our team the last couple of weeks. It makes me feel really good. There’s a lot of teams this time of the year as hard as it is to believe that want their season to be over. I don’t have any type of feeling like that in our locker room. Our guys, they fought today. They’re disappointed, and they should be because we lost. We put ourselves in position against one of the best teams in the country to win the game.”

On what kept them in the game:

“I thought we defended well. We really guarded them. We’re certainly offensively challenged, so we’re going to have to guard. I thought we really defended them well. Whether we were in zone or man, we didn’t have much of an answer for Hunter there. We got a couple turnovers, but I thought we dug in, and whatever we played, man or zone, we played intensely. We kept it to one-and-done for the most part. I’m thrilled with our defense, and again, we’re struggling offensively, and then you got to deal with their defense. That’s like a perfect storm of a potential tough night, so our d kept us in the thing.”

augusta free press
augusta free press