CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WDRB) -- Louisville coach Chris Mack, along with Cardinals players Jordan Nwora and Ryan McMahon, met with reporters after Thursday's 73-55 win over Notre Dame in their ACC Tournament opener.
A transcript of their comments, beginning with an opening statement from Mack:
MACK OPENING STATEMENT: Well, coming into the game, we knew that the way that Notre Dame could beat us were two things: Number one, Mooney. They're going to play through him. They're going to use him as a 4, use him as a 5. We wanted to make the game hard on him. I thought our guys did a terrific job. And the second thing is we had to limit their three-point shooting as best we could, and so we went for a lot of shot fakes in the first half knowing we wanted to really run them off the line, and I thought our discipline was a little bit better in the second half, and offensively really took care of the ball except for maybe a two or three-minute stretch in the first half. But you know, we're excited to play another day, and we know that we have a huge challenge in the Tar Heels tomorrow. But it beats going home.
Q. Coach, as you mentioned, tomorrow you play against UNC, you guys split the season this year. What are your thoughts going into the game, and how do you prepare for them tomorrow?
CHRIS MACK: Well, when you play a team for a third time, both teams are going to have great familiarity with one another. Coach Williams doesn't try to trick you. They're going to try to race the ball up the floor. They're going to try to pound it inside, and they're going to try to decimate you on the glass. They did that in Game 2. They didn't do it as well in Game 1. But that's going to be the answer for us if we're going to be able to be here as winners tomorrow night, to be able to keep them out of transition, make it a 5 on 5 game, keep them off the glass. Again, easier said than done. They're one of the best teams in the country, and we recognize that. But they don't try to fool you.
Q. Question for you, Coach, and you, Jordan. Coach, you mentioned that Mooney was the focus of attention. What did you do? And Jordan, it looked like you guys' length kind of bothered their inside shooters.
JORDAN NWORA: Yeah, when we were preparing for them, Mooney was obviously one of our main focuses, so just playing tough, not letting them back down. Everybody did a great job of guarding them, 1 through 5 a lot of guys got switched on to them. I don't think length played a big part in it. I think it was just us being tough, just being tough this game, and not letting them get to the rim at will, bully us in the paint, and that's what really helped us.
CHRIS MACK: He does a really good job when he catches it in the long post, turning and facing and sort of jab and creating space, and I thought our guys didn't let that jab create the space. We really tried press up into him, force him to dribble the ball, and hopefully we could have a second or third defender at least close to the situation when he got close, and did a really good job. Like Jordan said, it wasn't just one or two guys because when they play him at the 4 we're going to switch a lot of his ball screens, so we had point guards, and Darius did a great job, CC, all the guards were on him at some point in the post.
Q. Question for Coach: Keeping Carolina out of transition is one, and the second question is you defeated them at home. How do you think the hometown crowd will be tomorrow night?
CHRIS MACK: Well, it's going to be obviously pro-Carolina. I'm hoping the Duke fans get excited, too, for the Louisville Cardinals. But keeping them out of transition, we've got to score. We can't turn the ball over. If we have live ball turnovers like we did at the end of the first half, that's going to put one of the fastest teams in the country in the open court. So we have to do a great job with our ball security, and then getting numbers ahead of the ball. White is a blur in transition, his bigs are going to run, and they're going to spread you with shooters.
As I told these guys before, we've done it. It doesn't make it any easier tomorrow night, but that's the first thing that we have to take care of if we put ourselves in position to win.
Q. Coach, talk about the importance of being able to rest some of your players tonight and to play a lot of people knowing you had to come back and play a big tough game tomorrow night.
CHRIS MACK: Well, I thought our bench played great. It's always easy to play more guys when they're playing as well as they did. I thought Ryan obviously, despite the turnover there in the first half, shot the eyes out of it. We ran a few plays for him. You know, it's nothing that we don't expect. If he gets some daylight, we feel like it's going in. Thought V.J. King and Darius Perry gave us great minutes, so when they're effective they're going to play more. It really didn't have anything to do with trying to rest them for tomorrow night. We extended the lead when our substitutes were in there so we're going to go with the hot hand and the guys that were getting the job done, and those guys certainly were tonight.
Q. Jordan rebounding against Notre Dame tonight and the last time you guys played them was really good for you guys and was kind of the down fall in the second game against UNC. Do you feel like there's something you've been doing the past couple games that's led you guys being better on the boards or is it just kind of match-ups with this Notre Dame team?
JORDAN NWORA: I think just his last couple of games we've been locking in and focusing on boxing out. I'll call myself out. There are times I didn't do a great job boxing out and they get on me for it. There are a lot of times I don't do a great job boxing out and they get on me for it. It's just us boxing out and just being tough and being physical with guys. We can't get bullied, like I said earlier, and that's really the key to battling these guys on the glass.
Q. I just want to get the players' thoughts on Carolina tomorrow and the kind of challenges they present.
RYAN MCMAHON: Well, they just play fast, and their men on the glass, those are the two keys to the game, honestly. Like Coach said, they're one of the fastest teams in the country. We've got to cake care of the ball and not give them any easy points.
JORDAN NWORA: Yeah, I'm just going to go with what he said, just got to keep them out of transition and fight them on the glass. Those are going to be the two keys to the game. If we want to have a chance, we're going to have to do that.
Q. Ryan, you said the other day that you hoped this tournament would kind of be a fresh start for you guys. Did you feel like how you played tonight lended itself to that?
RYAN MCMAHON: Yeah, I mean, the postseason is kind of a season of its own. You see some teams that really were in a funk and they can get out of it, or they weren't in a funk and then get in one. We've been pretty conscious of that and have been really dialed in and locked in and having had a couple great weeks of practice, and we're excited for our upcoming games.
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