Pitino says defense overcame fatigue

Rick Pitino is relieved that his team hung on to beat Seton Hall 60-51 Saturday night to move up the Big East standings with a 5-4 league record. But the Louisville coach can't be happy with how his team executed offensively in the second half after building a 15-point halftime lead.

Rick Pitino is relieved that his team hung on to beat Seton Hall 60-51 Saturday night to move up the Big East standings with a 5-4 league record.

But the Louisville coach can't be happy with how his team executed offensively in the second half after building a 15-point halftime lead. The Cardinals made just six field goals after halftime and committed 24 turnovers, including a team-high seven by junior point guard Peyton Siva.

"I don't know what the hell he was doing, I'm just glad we won," Pitino said during his post-game radio interview on 84 WHAS. "I can't describe what Peyton did so I'm just going to laugh it off."

Louisville won because their defense held Seton Hall to 27.6 percent shooting, while Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan controlled the boards. Dieng grabbed 14 boards, while Behanan added 12 as Louisville out-rebounded Seton Hall 40-29.

"We really did a lot of great things on defense and we rebounded the ball well," Pitino said. "We played outstanding defense. We disguised our defense and really confused them."

After losing four of their first six league games, Louisville has now won three straight Big East contests, beating Pittsburgh, Villanova and Seton Hall to move into a three-way tie for sixth place with West Virginia and Cincinnati. After beating Villanova at home Wednesday night, Pitino thought his injury-depleted team tired late against the Pirates. Four of UofL's four starters played at least 32 minutes, including a team-high 38 minutes from Kyle Kuric. Chris Smith logged 29.

"I think fatigue played a big element in this game," Pitino said. "Peyton was exhausted. Chane was tired. I don't think I did a really good job of substituting and having confidence in our bench. I went with our defense over fatigue and it could of hurt us down the stretch but we didn't give them very much and that's the important thing."

Piitno believes his team will learn from their mistakes against the Pirates.

"I'm really proud of this ball club," Pitino said. 'We had six or seven great days of practice and had an awful lot of fun. We played a fantastic first half and we didn't end it because our point guard didn't play well down the stretch. We'll learn from it."

Louisville now has a week to rest and correct their offensive miscues before Rutgers visits the Yum! Center next Saturday.

"Our attitude has been unbelievable. We're going to get a lot better because I think Chane is picking up his level of intensity," Pitino said. "I'm really pleased with the way he played. He was a man out there tonight, much more than anybody. He got every rebound when we needed it in that first half."


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