Clark says Cards chemistry getting better

Junior forward Earl Clark told that No. 9 Louisville is playing with better team chemistry heading into Wednesday night's game at Rutgers.

Earl Clark celebrated his 21st birthday in a big way Saturday night, with a big game against No. 1 Pittsburgh. After the game, the 6-9 junior discussed the big win and more with

Clark scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the University of Louisville's 69-63 win over the Panthers.

Clark struggled in the first half, making just two of his 10 shot attempts, but he bounced back in the second half, going 3-for-5. His biggest basket came with 45 seconds left in the game as the shot clock expired that gave the Cards breathing room against Pitt.

Afterward UofL coach Rick Pitino praised Clark's play and said that he would allow the junior forward to have a "White Wine Spritzer...but just one."

Cards roll into Rutgers Wednesday night.

Q: It didn't look like a good birthday early in the game, how were you able to overcome your slow start?

A: "I just stayed focused, I mean it's the No. 1 team in the country. If I would've hung my head we wouldn't be sitting here right here, right now, with a victory. I just tried to dig in and play hard."

Q: Did you have some hesitation in shooting in the second half after a rough first half?

A: "It's no hesitation at all because I've got a coach who doesn't care about shots, he cares about defense. If I miss five shots in a row and come down and get took to the basket, or dunked on, I'm going to sit for a minute. But as long as I rebound and play defense and encourage my teammates, shooting is not going to bother me."

Q: Can you talk about the big shot you hit late in the game just before the shot clock expired?

A: "I didn't know the clock was running down, I was sizing my man up to go to the basket. But I look at Coach P and he was just screaming at the top of his lungs, 'Shoot it! Shoot it!' so I had to make the quickest move possible and get it off."

Q: Looks like you got a war wound with the scratch on your forehead, is it?

A: "That's what is man, the Big East you don't know where it's coming from. I got hit so much I couldn't even tell you what play it was. But it's all good, it's a victory wound, so it's good."

Q: How come this team has been so successful in late-game situations recently?

A: "Every night is going to be a fight, we know that. We prepare ourselves for that every day in practice, running the clock down, trying to execute plays with five, 10, seconds left and we know that. We've just got to stay together as a team and we're good enough to beat anybody."

Q: Where does this team go from here?

A: "We go to Rutgers next week and lose and all this is over and we're back to square one. So we've just got to keep fighting and hopefully keep pulling out victories.

"We're playing together, with more chemistry. I think right now we can get even better, we've got a lot of things to work on. We're just trying to stay together and play hard."

Q: What did you get for your birthday?

A: "I got this big card (he turned into his locker and pulled out the giant birthday card that was given to him by the UofL student section) from the greatest fans in college basketball, I got this after the game. So everybody who took their time out to make this, thanks, I appreciate it."

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