Pitino encouraged despite loss to rival UK

Rick Pitino saw a few encouraging signs in Louisville's 71-62 loss to third-ranked Kentucky Saturday at Rupp Arena. InsideTheVille.com has Pitino's post-game comments.

Opening Statement

I didn't mind the ugliness of the first half. Only being down eight or nine points was really helping us because the crowd wasn't as big a factor as it could have been, they weren't getting much in transition and we were playing much better defense. And then we played much better on offense in the second half but they got out in transition and that hurt us.

They're a really good basketball team. I'm real proud of our guys the way that they fought. We're going to get much better as the year goes on. I'm not overly excited about our execution offensively in the first half but I thought the guys were really giving it in terms of the way they worked.

I think it may make the Guiness Book of World Records Jared Swopshire and Reggie Delk getting technical fouls for talking or hitting somebody. They never talk and they never hit anybody. It was interesting to see.

On physical play

Most rivalry games - Louisville-Kentucky, Xavier-Cincinnati, Memphis-Tennessee, you're going to see it. That's what rivalry games are all about. But we've got great respect for them. They played real hard. We played real hard and they were victorious.

On Cousins' elbow

There was some pre-game stuff that went on. I didn't see it. I can't get overly bent out of shape Timberlake got stepped on by Christian Laettner and nothing happened. When I saw that I got a lot more upset. I'm sure when I see this I'll get upset. If the referees did get it wrong I don't know why they didn't get it right because they watched it a long enough time. It would have been nice to have him out of the game, it would have been 18 less rebounds.

On UK's frontcourt

I thought they had great length and we controlled it. It's a little misleading sometimes, rebounding statistics, if you shoot such a horrible percentage like we had there's going to be a lot of rebounds available. I thought overall we played real well defensively, but we played really poorly on offense in the first half. Their lineup, four of the five starters are going to be better than most teams they play. They've got a terrific team.

On first half offensive struggles

You've got to give a lot of credit to their defense. I thought our defense was very good..and both offensives became better in the second half. We're going to get a lot better, we're really going to improve. We've had two tough road games, UNLV and this one, our guys showed a lot of heart and character. We made really silly turnovers. Jared Swopshire is going to be a heck of a player someday but he's got to fight through his mistakes right now and keep working hard.

On stopping John Wall

They're the fastest team in America. They high-outlet the ball and we wanted to combat that and take it away and we did a very good job of that. We did a very good job with our full court press but when you shoot a low percentage you don't get it on that much. If you let them on the break they're very difficult.

On what he learned from the loss

I think we're going to get a lot better. I thought our guys played with great heart, they fought hard, but they got beat by a better team tonight. We're going to get a lot better. We've got a lot of growth to our basketball team. We've just got to keep doing little things and get better fundamentally. That pressure was great for us because we're going to see that when we play in the Big East. It was very good to play that road game going into the Big East.

On taking the lead in second half

We thought if we could keep it tight....I don't think you're going to see the freshman be afraid of anything....but when the game got tight with the game on the line it just shows you how great John Wall is, it didn't phase him at all. Those two missed free throws really hurt us because we stopped them and we could have tied it again. Then giving up that three really hurt us. We thought we could have won the game but they made the big plays and deserved the win.

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