Cincinnati-Louisville Postgame Quotes

Feb. 22, 2014

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Louisville vs. Cincinnati
Fifth Third Arena
Postgame Quotes

Cincinnati Head Coach Mick Cronin
Opening Statement:
“Obviously a hard fought game, better described as a blood bath. We came up one point short. I got my disappointments, but at the end of the day we didn’t get the job done down the stretch. Defensively we didn’t get the job done; we had a three point lead and gave up two layups. That was our watershed moment.”

On why the refs reversing the call:
“I have no comment on officiating.”

On if this is the toughest loss:
“No, when you lose in the NCAA tournament your season is over. In my opinion those are the toughest losses.”

On being down three at half without Justin Jackson:
“Modern miracle, shot 19% and I spent all day begging Justin not to foul early in the game and he ends up only playing one and half minutes in the first half, modern miracle.”

On what happened on the Russ Smith game-winning shot
“They made two good passes and he (Smith) hit a tough shot. We lost the game on Harrell's two layups. We let a guy shoot point blank layup without fouling him who is shooting 37 percent from the foul line in conference play. The whole gameplan was to foul him, that's why he shot 12 free throws on the day. We had our chances. Despite turnovers, giving them layups four or five times. Just throwing them the ball and giving them layups. That's because my guys really played hard, which I appreciate. I love them for how hard they play. We just didn't play very well today, we didn't play very smart today. Even if we would have won, we'd have won because of our toughness. We wouldn't have won because of our execution today.”

Can you reflect on Sean Kilpatrick reaching 2,000 points:
“I'm not in the mood to reflect right now. He's not done. I'll reflect on SK when the time comes. Eveyone understands, I think he is one of the best three players in college basketball. I say the same thing everyday, he's the best guard in college basketball. Doug McDermott is probably having the best year, but SK plays defense too. Titus' (Rubles) rebounding and SK's points were the reason we were in the game.”

On Troy Caupain making go-ahead free-throws late in the game:
“Not a surprise, he is a great free-throw shooter. Not a surprise at all. Makes them all the time. Every drill we do, he's 90 percent or better. I don't know what he's shooting on the season, but it's pretty high.

Did you get an explanation on the two free throws after a charge:
I have no comment on officiating. I don't mean that to say that officiating cost us the game. It didn't. We had our chances to win.”

#23 Sean Kilpatrick G
On Russ Smith's game-winning shot:
“There were a lot of assignments we missed and he got it off. It was a tough shot.”

On if the delay of the out-of-bounds review when UC was on an 11-0 run killed the momentum:
“Of course it did. All our fans were into it and I don't understand how you get the ball, make a call first, go watch it and it’s still going our way, then they say something and you change it again. That's unheard of.”

On if he felt any relief once he hit 2,000 points:
"I was really just trying to help my team. Being a senior guard and being able to make big plays down the stretch, that's something that I strive for and something my team looks for. I was just trying to put my team in the best situation."

On what helped UC get back in the game after being down by as many as 12 in the first half:
"We started playing defense and rebounding. That's something that helped us. The defense really got us back into the game."

On where the crowd ranked compared to others in his time at UC:
"It was number one. The fans were there about two hours before tipoff and we've never had anything like that."

On playing most of the first half without Justin Jackson (foul trouble):
"He's our veteran down low. His energy helps us a lot and being able to play without him is a tough situation. We fought hard. Without him on the court, we fought very hard. We held it down to three going into the second half, so we were in good shape."

#10 Troy Caupain G
On hitting two free throws with 11 seconds left to give UC a lead:
"It was a great atmosphere. Those were big free throws and Coach and SK just told me to relax and knock them down.  That's what I tried to do and stay focused."

#11 Jermaine Lawrence F

On playing 14 minutes after missing the first game versus Louisville due to injury:
"It was pretty exciting. I just wanted to come in and do the best I could to have the best game and produce for the team."

Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
On what was the difference in the game:
“The difference tonight was that Cincinnati’s bad foul shooters made their free throws today, and we kept missing free throws. We went on a great run in the first half, but we kept missing free throws, which was the bad part. But we came up with a big time play at the end of the game with our half court trap and not letting Kilpatrick get the ball back. Our defense was huge down the stretch.”

On Russ Smith’s shot at the end of the game:
“I thought it was a great shot, but I thank Terry [Rozier] because he could have taken the shot, but threw it to Russ. I thought Russ’s pass to Montrezl [Harrell] was a huge play for us. Like Connecticut and Memphis this was a difficult crowd to battle with, but we kept going and pulled out the win.”

On what he told his team in the locker room before the game:
“I told them that I am going to give them the same speech I gave you before the Wichita State game last year. The better defensive team will win this game tonight. The better offensive team will not necessarily win even though we shot better than they [Cincinnati] did. I told them you have got to win this game on defense, and we did.

On Montrezl  Harrell’s development:
“He has really developed into a great basketball player. He came in as a runner, dunker and shot blocker, but now he is more than that. The one thing you guys [the media] don’t know about Montrezl is that he is one of the brightest guys on our team, from a scouting stand point and knowledge about the game.”

On playing tough opponents with loud crowds on the road:
“This is a great opportunity for us to play Memphis, Cincinnati and SMU on the road because it doesn’t get any tougher than those three. So we knew this was a great opportunity for us. We didn’t worry about it being a white out. We looked at it as a tremendous opportunity.”

On being excited this team the last 10 games:
“They are playing really well defensively. The thing that bugs me is if they miss a shot they let it bother them. I tell them that I will never take them out because of missed shots. Defense makes the difference. Play defense. Play your butts off on defense, and they did today.”

On his defense tonight:
“We had to go to something that we haven’t done all year with our half court trap to get the ball out of Kilpatrick’s hands. If we are going to lose, it’s not going to be because of him.”

#20 Wayne Blackshear G/F
On what this win means for the team:
“It’s great we got our revenge back on them and that is obviously good and it helped us out a lot in our rankings for the tournament.”

On what it says about the team losing the lead but still able to pull out the victory:
“It says that we’re a tough team. We didn’t rattle under the anything and we keep our composure.”

On if they want the ball in Russ Smith’s hands with the game on the line:
“Yeah, Russ is the one guy that we always go to in situations, so it wasn’t a surprise that he hit the shot.”

On how much poise Terry Rozier showed today:
“He showed a lot of poise. He has been doing that all year. Since he came in from the summer up until now he has been playing very good.”

On if he thinks this is a similar team to the one that won the National Title last year:
“It’s very similar. We have different people but the same characters on this team. We are all the same way. We get along with each great and only thing now is that we have to keep moving.”

On how frustrating it is to guard Sean Kilpatrick:
“He is always offensive minded so it’s tough guarding him coming off screens and down screens. So we try to put a lot of different bodies out there and tried to slow him down.”

#2 Russ Smith G
On how much he wanted the ball down the stretch of the game:
“I wanted the ball a lot in the last two minutes because I know coming off the pick and roll I have been working a lot on it with coach and I wanted to make a lot of good decisions down the stretch. I took that challenge and I think I did a good job. I found Montrezl (Harrell) and then Wayne (Blackshear) got a big block and then I found Montrezl again and then it was an iffy call down the stretch. That call wasn’t called all game and then I came down found Terry (Rozier) because coach said make one pass and I did and Terry was unselfish and he was able to recognize me and he kicked it out to me and I made the shot. I am just so happy that this year I didn’t shoot from half court.”

On if the shot looked good leaving his hand:
“Honestly it felt really good leaving my hand. I don’t know if it looked good to you guys but it honestly felt really good and it either would have been an air ball or it would have went straight through the net. (Titus) Rubles contested it pretty well and it was a college basketball shot and you can’t find another shot like that anywhere else.”