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Pitino: Cards attacked rim to have time to get back on defense

By LARRY VAUGHT

Louisville beat Kentucky 73-70 Wednesday night and gave coach Rick Pitino only his second win in 10 games against John Calipari’s Wildcats.

After the game, Pitino was lavish in his praise of the Wildcats.

“They put so much pressure on your defense every possession, but our guys did a great job, not only defensively, but attacking the rim offensively. So many teams who play Kentucky, settle on jump shots, rather than drive to the basket, and it is always a four-point play, or a five-point play because they will beat you down the court,” Pitino said.

“We made up our mind that we were going to reverse it and attack the rim, so we can get back on defense. Even then, their percentage was like 39 percent in the first half, but they were nine for 12 on the break.

“They put a lot of pressure on you and they are a terrific team, that is going to get better and better. I’m really delighted with the victory; it has been a while since we have beaten them. The crowd was electric and great. When you see college basketball with these great games, North Carolina versus Kentucky, and us, is just great for our game.””

Pitino used a different approach to help motivate his team for the game.

“I said, ‘look guys. I don’t know how many more Kentucky versus. Louisville games I have left. I hope I coach five, seven, or eight more of them, but you have to really enjoy it and have fun, because you are not going to see this experience too much,” Pitino said.

“When you look at college basketball on the screen sometimes, you don’t see this type of atmosphere. You have to really, really enjoy it’, and they did tonight. They had a lot of fun tonight, and they enjoyed it. I think Kentucky is a tough team. It was quite an impressive performance by them, coming off of the North Carolina game.”

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  1. GeneT

    Really disappointed in the loss, but still proud of this Kentucky team. Coming off such a great game against UNC, and then coming back to this atmosphere in an away game at Louisville is very hard to do. This game will do nothing but help this team get better in many aspects in the long run. I love this team, and can’t wait to see them make a huge run in March!!!!!

  2. Cats79

    Had we hit our free throws and rebounded the ball in the last 4 minutes of the game the game may had a different out come. But gotta give cards credit were its due they wanted more than we did and we will move on to get better.

    1. Larry Pup

      The Cats couldn’t guard Quintin Snider. UK is turning into a football school anyway, and the sun still came up today. Merry Christmas everybody.

  3. Ben27

    We were out of sorts the whole game. The UCLA and UL game both had lack of energy and confusion by UK. We looked so good in our other games that maybe they were too easy. We have to find ways to win, when our shots, rebounds, free-throws and energy levels are non-existent or out of sorts.

    Cal will have their attention now! You cannot win a championship, unless you learn how to win these games. We now have to beat Kansas and lose no more than two conference games to have a chance at a number one seed in the tourney.

    We are limited because we have very few quality games left! Time for Cal to play hardball. Play those that listen and play hard and sit those that do not. Wills has been a big disappointment and does not deserve to play.

  4. Mike

    Hopefully there will be some good carry over benefits from this loss. Ricky needed the W more than Cal did and they were better prepared and disciplined than we were. We still are not a good outside shooting team, a good defensive team at the rim, and a good rebounding team. Humphries doesn’t take advantage of his opportunities and looks lost out there, Willis has some confidence issues with his shots, and Gabriel just seems to be out of control. UL had the 2 best players in Snider and Adel and they did deserve the W.

  5. TheProfessor

    “Pitino … said, ‘look guys. I don’t know how many more Kentucky versus. Louisville games I have left. I hope I coach five, seven, or eight more of them, but you have to really enjoy it and have fun, because you are not going to see this experience too much,”

    Rick knows the clock on his coaching career is ticking down.

    As for this game, no real surprises last night. Kentucky missed critical free throws, and in one respect, that cost them the game, but Kentucky has been shooting free throws poorly all season. Kentucky lost the rebound battle, but this Kentucky team has struggled on the boards all season. Perimeter shooting has been suspect all season, except for the UNC game. The UNC game is a loss but for extraordinary perimeter shooting, and that is the exception to the norm here, not the poor shooting last night. Louisville’s defense disrupted Kentucky’s ability to score, but Louisville’s defense has done that all season. Kentucky struggled defensively at the 3 and 4 spots, but what is new there?

    Now it is time for this team to focus on its short comings. Defense at the 3 and 4 spots, shot selection, and a will to rebound.

  6. TrueBlueJohn

    No matter what you think of him personally, Pitino can prepare a team for a big game as well as any coach in the sport. If you have a weakness, there is where he will focus. That is why after all the upheaval of the past few years, he is still coaching.. I always remember the job that the 96 team did on Wake Forest and the great Tim Duncan. If they had played Duncan straight up, Wake probably would have come close to winning. Instead, Walter McCarty doubled down every time Duncan touched the ball.

    So hats off to you, Rick, you really had them prepared last night. I think that by tournament time, on a neutral court, things will be different.

    1. Larry Pup

      Pitino still turned his back on UK. He did that when he took the Louisville job. Cal has won 8 out of 10, so he didn’t have those teams prepared well enough to beat UK then now did he?. Besides UK almost pulled this one out on a bad shooting night. The UNC win took a lot of steam out of this team IMO, they had rubber legs last night, but still managed to take it to the wire. This game was in doubt until the final seconds. I guess the “hooker” scandal will not be a big enough net to get slick Rick out of coaching. Jurich will see to that. What a bunch of crooks..

  7. Mike

    TBJ…..Agree with your comments there. Pitino may be actually be a better in game, and game preparation coach than Cal, but the advantage swings to Cal on the recruiting side. We are really very predictable. You drive to the rim, and you will either make the basket or get to the foul line. Cal was definitely premature by saying this may be one of his better defensive teams. It may be by the end of the year so we will have to see.

    1. TrueBlueJohn

      Mike, don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice between Cal and Rick, I would choose Cal every time. With all the media bad press when he was hired, and the predictions of probation and banners coming down, there hasn’t been a hint of scandal in the seven years that Cal has been here. On the other hand, it has been one dark cloud after another 80 miles west of Lexington, and if any banners are coming down, it will be in the Chicken Bucket,

  8. Cats79

    Larrypup, I’ve haven’t understand you and some of our fan base has such a grudge against Rick Pitino.He did bring back our program from the ashes that Sutton gave us. It’s been 20 years since left To Be A NBA coach not jump ship to Louisville that some take it as is. It just happened Louisville was looking for a coach at the time when Rick got the job. Rick did more good than harm for our program. It’s time to let it go and move on than worry about what Pitino has done.

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