Cincinnati-Louisville Postgame Quotes
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Feb. 24, 2012

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Louisville at Cincinnati
Fifth Third Arena
Feb. 23, 2012
Postgame Quotes

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin
Opening statement:
“Obviously a great win for our team. Kids played excellent defense in the second half. I thought Cashmere Wright had a great game for us with 22 points, five assists, and only one turnover against their quick hands that their guys have. We had multiple guys step up. Justin Jackson was awesome for us on the defensive end in the second half. We had many guys do great things, but obviously, our second-half defense to hold them to 26 percent in the second half and 0 of 10 from the three-point line. I’ve been trying to get our team to become a great defensive team knowing that we’ll need to get there to beat the teams we need to beat. The guys did a great job on the defensive end. They are hard to play on offense because of their zone and the things that they do.  They’ve got one of the best coaches of all time.”

On JaQuon Parker’s Status:
“There will be no comments on any injuries. I hope he will be ready to play against South Florida on Sunday.”

On Justin Jackson rebounding:
“In the second half, we were struggling to get rebounds, and I tried to play Cheikh (Mbodj) and Yancy (Gates) together. But in this type of environment, I just tried to challenge Justin (Jackson). I told him rebounding is about toughness, and you are the toughest guy so just go get a rebound. And he did. He was above the rim. He was as explosive as I’ve seen him. He took our defense and defensive rebounding to whole other level. He was the key to that in the last 11 minutes of the game. They were stuck on 45 for a long time.”

On talking about the NCAA Tournament with his team:
“No, we talk about execution and improvement as a team and individuals. We don’t worry about things we can’t control and we don’t let other people define us. We talk about life because that is how life is too. If you do what you are supposed to do as a person and player, that stuff all takes care of itself.”

On if he was concerned about being up only two points at halftime despite UC’s three-point shooting: “No, I thought we shot too many threes. We made some shots early, and I thought we fell in love with it and we forgot about Yancy (Gates). We started missing it because of their defense. Players think they are going cold, but they don’t realize it is good shot or bad shot for the most part. They adjusted and exposed the middle. We missed Yancy (Gates). We should have kept going to him when they were stretching out on our three point shooters. We fell in love with it too much. We talked about it half time. I told the guys at halftime that if we don’t turn the ball over, they aren’t going to win. They aren’t going to get enough baskets on us in the half court to beat us. If we continue to defend the three point line, don’t turn the ball over and let them get transition, we will be fine. We have to make Siva beat us with two point shots.”

On the crowd:
“Excellent. The crowd was off the charts. The home court is the difference in a game like this.”

Cincinnati Player Quotes

No. 1 Cashmere Wright, G
On Justin Jackson providing energy down the stretch:
“That’s his job. Coach (Cronin) told him when JaQuon (Parker) went down, he needs to step up his rebounding, be more effective in the game and enforce his effort and that is what he did.”

On his performance tonight:
“Before the game Coach (Cronin) told us, ‘there is no offense, just play.’ ‘If you’re open shoot, if you can drive, drive.’ I felt that that was a very comfortable situation for me. Not worrying about mistakes, just going out there and playing.”

On his hot shooting:
“Their zone kind of switches up from a zone to a man zone. You really never know. Just beat your man and everything else will take care of itself.”

On focusing the defense on the shooting of Louisville’s Kyle Kuric:
“Between him and Chris Smith we were told, ‘no attempts.’ We would rather them take the dribble and shoot the inside shot than take a three. If they took a three and made it, you were coming out of the game so nobody was going to let that happen.”

On the confidence in Yancy Gates at the free-throw line at the end of the game:
“We had a drill in practice, you had to make 10 in a row or we were going to sit in practice all day long and he made 10 in a row, so I was comfortable with him out there making them.”

No. 34 Yancy Gates, F
On the similarities of this year’s run to last year’s run:
“I think it is a little different because now we actually know how to handle it and we know how to prepare and get ready for the next game with a win like this, so it is a little different. Now instead of having older guys, we are just bringing the younger guys with us now.”

On what contributed to the strength of the defense in the game tonight:
“I think all of us on defense. When teams don’t make shots there is a reason because the defense is making them uncomfortable, taking them out of what they are comfortable with. We did a good job of, even if (Peyton) Siva got into the paint, not really helping off and making him score over the bigger guy which he struggles with at times. They didn’t really get the open looks like they are normally used to getting. “

On whether the team is an NCAA Tournament team or not:
“I think we are but really we just focus on making this last push, finishing as strong as we can for the seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.”

On the same five-player lineup being on the floor a lot together tonight:
“I didn’t think we ran out of gas but Coach Cronin kind of changed it. He catches us subbing out in practice, he turns the treadmill on. You really don’t want to sub out because you would rather be playing ball than running on the treadmill. I think he is helping us get in shape so I don’t think there is no running out of gas. “

On if the team is playing its best basketball right now:
“As a group, yeah, of course. That’s the idea to get better as the season goes on. You don’t want to be that team that is winning early in the season and at this point you start losing because that can carry over into tournament play when it is one and done.  Like we said the last time we had media, we play better when our backs are against the wall so we are taking that attitude no matter what.”

On if the team is starting to hit its stride:
“I think so. I think guys now are taking what the defense gives us. We are not worried about the high score man, we are worried about stopping the other team on defense and going down on offense and going down on offense and not wasting possessions. Whoever shoots is shooting because he is the open man and that is the shot we want. “

On the impact of the crowd tonight:
“We love it. That’s college basketball. You don’t get that once you are done with college so you enjoy it while you enjoy it. “

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino
Opening Statement:
“Well, it was a great crowd for them. Certainly, the best home court advantage we’ve seen this year. I think our guys, up until Gorgui (Dieng) went out of the game, played terrific. That changed the whole momentum of the game. I’m real proud of the guys. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the two, three spot. Take away all of that, we still, if Gorgui stays in the game, would have a great chance to win. Give them credit; they won the game and move ahead of us in the standings.”

On adjusting to Cincinnati’s three-point shooting in the second half:
“They make difficult threes. Let’s face it, they’re not easy shots. And, they do it against everybody. The only one I was disappointed in was when there was seven seconds to go and Peyton (Siva) just lets the guy pull it. And, I don’t know what else he thought they were going to run. Maybe he thought they were going to run the wheel. That’s the only one I was disappointed in. The rest of them we guarded well.”

On the play designed for Kyle Kuric coming out of a timeout:
“He had a wide open three. He didn’t make it. I knew he was 0-10, but Chris (Smith) was 0 of 4. He’s our best three-point shooter. I had no substitutes to run it for. I knew we were stagger picking from the two man. I knew we could get it with him coming off of the screen and he’d be wide open because they knew we were going to screen to the other guys. So, we faked it, he came off, he was open and didn’t make it.”

On what attributed to the dry spell of some of his players:
“Missed shots. They had wide open shots that didn’t go in. it was one of those nights.”

On Chane Behanan’s defense on the perimeter:
“He was playing real well. He just has a tough time understanding our zone. He played real well tonight. I think our guys played with great effort, great intensity, real proud of their effort. This is the type of effort that you want this time of the year. The type of defense you want this time of the year. But, we just have to keep Gorgui in the game and protect him and we didn’t. And, it was a drive on his fourth foul that caused it.”

On Kyle Kuric:
“He’ll be fine. I showed him when I ran the play in the timeout who I thought was the big time shooter. It’s just one of those nights. Every player goes through one of those nights where nothing will fall. But he did a good job tonight. He helped us in other areas. He doesn’t turn the ball over. We got to stop turning the ball over. Not that we had a lot tonight but we got to stop making careless turnovers.”

On how Cincinnati native Chane Behanan handled himself:
“He did a good job. I don’t know what the fans were yelling at him.  I couldn’t understand them. I don’t think he likes them either. Tell them it’s mutual. Now, I’m saying that because I hope that Cincinnati will come back to our place next year.”

Louisville Player Quotes
No. 24 Chane Behanan, F
On the atmosphere:
“That’s the most electric I have ever seen it because I used to come to games when I was younger, and I’ve never heard it that loud.  I don’t know if it is because I came back and everybody hated me it seemed like but that is all part of college basketball.”

No. 3 Peyton Siva, G
On the atmosphere:
“It was a tough environment, Cincinnati has a great fan base and it just helps us for the future and in the tournament and you are going to have close games and it just shows your character and how you build off it.  I think everyone is just going to build off this one, it was a tough game but we are going to learn from our mistakes.  Cincinnati hit a lot of threes and we just have to be careful turnovers really hurt us in the first half, I had three back to back ones in the second half.  We just all collectively have to do a better job of protecting the ball.”

On the second half:
“We just lost a lot of momentum, Gorgui went out of the game and he was a big factor for us and it just really hurt us.  We just continued to play and grind it out, they hit a lot of big shots and they were a tough team.”

On drought in the second half:
“We just couldn’t knock down a bucket, it was tough we took a lot of bad shots, we didn’t really work the ball around in our offense.  We have to do better at not taking poor shots.  I am proud of everyone’s effort and give Cincinnati all of the credit they played really well tonight and hit 11 threes on us.  We just have to do better and watch film tomorrow and get better in practice.”