TRANSCRIPT | Rick Pitino after Louisville's 81-59 win at FSU - WDRB 41 Louisville News

TRANSCRIPT | Rick Pitino after Louisville's 81-59 win at FSU

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WDRB) -- A transcript of University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino's postgame news conference after the Cardinals beat Florida State 81-59 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on the FSU campus today.

The questions are paraphrased. Answers are verbatim:

Pitino's opening statement:

Every time we have a big game, and we need a win, I bring this young lady in, who is my good luck charm, she's my granddaughter, and she brings me luck. She's very shy right now, but she brings me luck and we don't lose with her in attendance.

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It was a terrific win for us. And I think we responded as a team should respond to a difficult situation, and played great team basketball. For the third time this year we got our deflection total, 37. We had 20 assists, held them to six, guarded the three. We were very conscious of what they did to Miami to come back in the game and we didn't want that to happen to us. It was a good win for us.

Q: Is that as well-rounded an offensive performance as you have had?

PITINO:
I think it was just a great team effort. Everybody stepping up playing well. I think that sometimes you look for silver linings in every cloud, and the silver lining here is, I think our freshmen — it's tough sitting on the bench and knowing that you're not getting in — but now they know they are getting in so our practices are better, enthusiasm is better.

Q: You've been averaging 69 points a game this year, but your leading scorer was held scoreless in the first half and your team still had a double-digit lead at half. How do you feel about your team's next-man-up ability?

PITINO:
I think that the thing that I loved about tonight's performance — because Rozier wasn't doing this early in the year — if he had a bad night offensively, it was affecting the facets of his game. Tonight he has nine assists, six steals and just played a great point guard's game. He missed some shots that normally go in for him, and he didn't let it bother him. So his growth has been amazing. I think Quinten Snider learned a lot of valuable lessons tonight. Anton Gill stepped up big. Mangok was very, very active. And Montrezl sort of amazes me with some of his dunks. He's being double-teamed, and all of a sudden those arms keep going up, and up and up and he dunks the ball. So we had a great performance from a lot of people tonight, but this is probably the best team performance for the season.

Q: How much nicer was it to have extra time to adjust and prepare (without Jones)?

PITINO: Yeah, that was a difficult thing. Going into the Syracuse game, I found out there was a problem right before we got on the plane, so we didn't practice it. Then when we got home after the Miami game and found out there was a problem we didn't practice it. So we got a lot of good practices where the bench got a lot of action.

Q: Was it just confidence with Anton (Gill)?

PITINO:
He's practicing real hard. He got an opportunity tonight and obviously shot the ball real well. But he didn't have an assist, didn't have a steal, I want to see him do other things in a very active defensive situation, so he doesn't have to get taken out of the game if he's not shooting well. But he gave us a big lift tonight, he was patient, he didn't force things, and that's what we want to see. And he deserves it because he's practiced very well.

Q: A win on the road on the ACC this late in the season, how does this improve your seeding in the tournament coming up and possible NCAA seeding?

PITINO:
If you look at the way Florida State plays at home, whether it's Duke or the teams they play, they play basically everybody tough. So this was a great performance by us late in the season, and we had to change our team. We're a different team now than we were a week ago, but still, I think, a very good basketball team, because this was one of our better games.

Q: Were you pleased with the defense?

PITINO:
I thought it was excellent. We got 37 deflections, for the third time this season, had a lot of steals ourselves. We were unselfish. I really liked the way we played all around in every phase of the game.

Q: Blackshear did a little of everything, including score. Is that what you need from him?

PITINO:
He did. All we emphasize with him is I want 60 percent of your offense to drive — paint touch. We know you can shoot. Paint touch. And he's been doing a great job of that. What he did today we see in practice every day. He's been a top two practice player all season. Sometimes he gets in foul trouble an never gets off and gets tentative, but tonight he didn't.

Q: You got the big run, you haven't always gotten that this season, and even when they came back a little you got good looks. What accounted for that?

PITINO:
We shot well, we passed well. They're a very good defensive team. We wanted to get in the bonus and get to the foul line. They wanted to foul Mangok at the end of the game and they made some crucial free throws.

Q: When all this stuff originally happened on Sunday, were there things that -- obviously you wanted to go get a win at Georgia Tech and figure things out after that -- you were specifically looking for in practice to see how your guys would react?

PITINO:
We've had -- not this type of adversity -- but in past years, we've had to win five out of seven on the road or six out of seven to get into the tournament, and we've done it. We've had adversity with a lot of injuries. Right now, knock on wood, we don't have it. But our hearts are definitely hurt with Chris's situation, but we knew -- I was kind of blown away by the media in Louisville. All they kept talking about was how this was going to affect the team. It affects the team mentally because one of our brothers got in trouble, but it was never going to affect us physically because we're going to play hard. I was kind of puzzled by the questions.

Q: What was the defensive strategy against Xavier Rathan-Mayes?

PITINO:
We just wanted to take his legs out as much as we could, pressure him as much as we could. If he goes to the baseline, we wanted to trap him. On the wing, we wanted to trap him. We wanted to stay off the non-shooters and rotate to the shooters. We did a real good job of stopping the 3 ball. A little late in the game we gave up a few, but by and large we did a great job. That performance against Miami was ... When they told me, I couldn't wait to watch the end of the game. How does someone get 30 points in four minutes-plus? It's kind of amazing. He had great range. Then you look at this stats and he's shooting 26 percent from 3 and you're scratching your head. His shot looks great, it looks like it's going in, and we wanted to make sure that we weren't going to rely on him missing and we would play really, really hard.

Q: At what point does potentially being a top-four seed in the tournament and playing the first two rounds at home at the Yum! Center become a motivation factor for your team?

[NOTE: U of L is barred from playing NCAA tournament games at home by NCAA rule.]

PITINO: We can't play at the Yum! Center ... They changed that. Kentucky will play in the Yum! Center. We'll be in the Pacific Ocean somewhere.

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