From the locker room: Cards win on road

Fresh off becoming the new No. 1 team in the country, the University of Louisville basketball team turned in an impressive performance on Monday night. Russ Smith scored 23 points, while Gorgui Dieng pulled down 16 rebounds in a 73-58 victory over Connecticut on the road in Hartford, Conn.


On the overall win: "We are real excited to get a road victory because Connecticut has certainly been playing great basketball indicative of snapping the Notre Dame streak. We did a good job of weathering a Peyton Siva storm with him out. Once he came back and we weathered that storm, we played much better defense and much better offense."

On the UConn backcourt: "Our goal was to limit them to one shot and not let Napier and Boatright have good looks. We found that in the last 10 minutes of play 82% of their shots come from Napier and Boatright. So in the end, we wanted to make sure they didn't beat us."

On the No. 1 ranking: "You played a great schedule so you're very deserving of that. Why don't you hold on to that for a little while. It's going to leave you, but you're going to play for it at the end which is the most important thing. So, hold onto it for a while. Louisville, with it's great tradition - one of the top seven traditions in all of college basketball, has never been number 1 in the regular season. I was blown away by that."

On the defense: "The defense, believe it or not, is 50% cerebral. It's knowing what the other team is going to do. And he is a very, very smart basketball player."


"We held Shabazz (Napier) to two points in the second half and (Ryan) Boatright had 11 in the game. We just tried to contain them. They are one of the best backcourts in the nation. "

"I made stupid fouls in the first half - trying to play too anxious. In the second half I just tried to play out there and not even worry about it. I knew I had 2-3 fouls but I just tried to play the same way, play smarter, and it worked."

"Our press helped us a bit but our half-court defense is what stepped us up. We got a lot of deflections. We got a lot of steals. In the second half we felt a lot better than the first half."

"It was terrible on the bench. It didn't even feel like I was their to help my teammates out. But then I snapped out of it. I tried I tried to give them some encouraging words and I knew the second half was going to be an entirely different half. They did a great job. They played their hearts out and kept attacking. In the second half we put all the pieces together and we made our runs."

U OF L GUARD Russ Smith

"We approach every game the same way. Every game is going to be a tough match-up like tonight was. It was Peyton and myself and then it was Shabazz and Boatright and it was going to get a little over-hyped."

"We just had to stay within reach. Peyton is the senior leader of this team, the captain, and he gets us going. The perks of having him are what he did in the second half. We were able to jump out on them. I'm just glad he didn't foul out in the first half."


"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."

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