It was a win but not a great performance.
That was the message from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, whose team beat Fairfield on 71-57 in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic on Saturday afternoon in Uncasville, Conn.
The Cardinals hit just 38.3 percent from the field, including 2 of 14 three-pointers, had just nine assists on 23 baskets and turned it over 14 times.
Pitino called it the "poorest performance" of the season for the defending national champions, who were really never threatened.
"I would be lying to you if I said I was happy with anything tonight," Pitino said. "Just a poor performance by us tonight. Coaches don't believe (in looking ahead) but maybe sometimes that does get you a little off your game."
The No. 3 ranked Cardinals will now play North Carolina on Sunday at 1 o'clock in the championship game of the event.
Louisville had been rolling along with Russ Smith and Chris Jones playing near flawless ball in the first four games of the season. The two combined for 25 points against the Stags but also had eight turnovers.
The Cardinals trailed 9-4 but then took a 37-23 lead at halftime and just looked sluggish and lethargic for much of the second half.
Louisville had 26 fouls and gave up five three-point field goals.
"We have a lot of work to do," Pitino said. "We didn't play well at any phase of the game. We have been playing awesome defense and tonight we just didn't do the things we are capable of doing tonight.
"We have played four good games and tonight flat in every phase of the game. But you are just going to have a bad night. You try hard but things just don't go well for you and sometimes it's a good thing."
Pitino said his team was brought "back to earth" with the performance.