We knew this team [Chattanooga], from a transition standpoint, would try to do the same things we do--pushing the pace. We obviously have a deeper bench. We had a couple of goals tonight. One in particular was we had to win the 3-point line because they beat a very good, talented Marshall team by making 12 3s and shooting 36 percent. The 3-point line was a great equalizer. We wanted to make sure we negated the 3-point line. Our guys are a fun group to coach. They're a fun group each day because they want to learn and get better. They play with extraordinary effort, and this was exciting for them to play against a team that wanted to run with them. It was an exciting basketball game for us and for our fans. We're really excited.
(On coming out with a stronger defense in the second half)
We talked about coming out and making sure we did not slow the pace down. We played excellent defense the whole night. We got after them, pressured them. All those steals we made were because of the pressure we were applying to the basketball. Both Peyton [Siva] and Bullet [Elisha Justice] did a terrific job of trying to wear out a very good point guard [Keegan Bell] who has an outstanding range. He [Bell] transferred from Vanderbilt. Our guys did a terrific job tonight, we're getting better. As I said, we're taking baby steps every single day in practice, but the best part about coaching these guys is their attitude. They're a lot of fun to coach.
I knew he would. It's just a matter of getting the running game and getting a little bit out of the half-court. He's a good athlete, good player. Now, remember he came here as a walk-on, and we gave him a scholarship. Let's not read too much into when he doesn't have a great scoring night, he came in as a walk-on. I think he's exceeded that by leaps and bounds and given a lot to this program.
(On Pitino's feelings about his team taking their passing game to a higher level)
I wouldn't overrate us. It was two teams that wanted to play a certain style. We were at home, and we won the style. I wouldn't get too carried away, but I think we're in great shape. They've really embraced the style, it's really helped us. We're having a lot of fun with it, but it starts with defense. We said we want to play like Loyola [Marymount] of years ago. We want to play great defense, and that's the key.