HARTFORD – Highlights of Kevin Ollie’s remarks, following Louisville’s 73-58 win over UConn:
“It was a game of runs. They came out in second half – I don’t know what [Coach Rick] Pitino said to them, but he must have said something. They played very, very hard in the second half. They took it to us. They shot 60 percent in the second half. There were a lot of layups. We didn’t get back on defense. We didn’t play with the force that we were playing with in the first half, with the intensity we were playing with on the defensive end. They did a really good job. Pitino is a great coach. He had them come out and play like Louisville is supposed to play. They pressed us, we gave up the basketball – we had 10 turnovers in the second half. We didn’t handle their pressure.
We have to go back as a coaching staff and reassess this and come back and get ready to play, going down to Pittsburgh. That’s going to be another tough team.
We’re going to get better. I want to praise Louisville, they came out with a great effort. But our guys didn’t respond when they came out and had that run.
Most of the time our guards take the challenge. In the second half, man to man, we didn’t take the challenge. … Shabazz [Napier] can’t let anybody take him out of his rhythm. He’s too good a player.”
We’ve just got to focus in on what we have to do. We have to make shots. In those types of games, you can’t draw it, you’ve got to make plays. They’re flying all over the place. We do have the guards to make plays but, unfortunately, we didn’t make enough tonight.
Give credit to Louisville. They’re a great team and they deserve to be number one. They’ve got talent, they play hard, they play together, whoever is open they get the ball to him. And then they have two amazing guards. Siva and Russ are two damn good guards, and they put pressure on our offense and our defensive side the whole night.
The crowd was wonderful the first half. They got behind us even the whole game. I kind of disappointed we couldn’t give them a win because they were so great out there giving us that lift that we needed.
Omar Calhoun played very well on the big stage. He got percentage up with 6 for 9. He played with the passion and purpose I want all our players to have. His play at the end of the first half – everybody seemed to stop playing, but he didn’t stop playing.
“You can’t control events, but you can control the meaning of events. We have to bounce back. We have to look at the positive things we did in the first half, and then we have to look at the things that didn’t go right in the second half and work on those.”