"I certainly have to take my hat off to Coach Calhoun's team. I have a lot of respect for him and the program. I though we were executing our game plan and getting good shots. Then we didn't make our shots, and they started getting hot. (Taliek) Brown hit a couple, Gordon hit a couple, and we didn't respond real well.
"Caron Butler is a great player. He is a great player. He got 19, I think, in the first half really without forcing anything. I know there have been some analogies to Paul Pierce. I coached Paul, and that's accurate. He's a big-time, big-time player. I think he's also a good kid.
"They are quick and athletic, and we need to get stronger in the weight room. I think that's evident. We had a two-point game, and then they made that run. Things snowballed on us, and we weren't able to recover. We cut it to 15 in the second half, and they called a time out and then came out and scored. That's tough, but we've got to move on.
"We play [NC] State at home on Wednesday, and we have to regroup. We have to regroup."
What did you think about the effort?
"I thought the effort was good until they take it to you like that. It's tough, sometimes, to react. I thought we came out and executed, we defended in a zone – it slowed them down a little bit. They were taking jump shots. I know they don't want to rely on jump shots. Then they start to hit some. They are quicker and stronger, and sometimes that can be construed for lack of effort on our part. But I think our guys were trying.
"When they really got it going in the second half, that's when I saw some long faces and body language that I didn't like, but when you are talking about young kids, in a setting like this, it's human nature. But we've got to battle human nature. I don't fault our kids' mind frame, coming into the game. I don't fault their effort. But I think UConn really took it to us late in the first half and the second half. They are going to make some teams look lethargic like we looked at times. But I think that's more of a credit to UConn than our kids. Our kids want to win, our kids are fighting. They are doing what they can do.
"We took 13 three's, we wanted the ball to go inside, and we only had 15 turnovers against a team that presses and scraps. We got Kris 21 shots, and I thought 19 of them were great shots. I told him, 'It's not your night tonight. You've got to make sure you are right for Wednesday.' He understands, and he didn't lose any confidence today. Just not his day."
How much worse off was the loss without Capel? We showed up with our team, and we played a basketball game. Jason's a big part of our basketball team, but he wasn't here today and we had to play. I'm not going to blame anything on Jason Capel. We didn't lose by whatever we lost by because Jason wasn't here. By the same token I'm looking forward to getting him back. He's got some toughness, leadership, he can score and he can rebound. It would have been nice to have him. Any idea on his availability?
It is day to day, from what I know.
Do you normally play that much zone?
We played more recently. When I was at Notre Dame, I played strictly zone and we had some success against UConn. It was successful for the first 12 minutes, then they started hitting some shots. We turned the ball over again not a lot, but then they're going against an unset defense. That's when they got some things going in the open court. That's when they got some offensive rebounds.
I thought our zone was pretty effective for the most part. Then in the second half, when you are down 20 points, you need to come out of it and give them a different look and we cut it to 15. They are pretty strong kids.
Did Kris have to have a good game to keep you in it?
No question. He is very focused offensively. He gave great effort, but the ball did not go into the hole for us. That is going to happen. The ball went in for them. They shot over 50 percent.
Why did you go down the bench and put your hand on the head of each player?
I was just telling them to keep their heads up. We've got to regroup for Wednesday. It is hard. We talked in the locker room about investing emotionally again. I've talked about this in the past. You invest emotionally, and you don't get the rewards -- it is tough. It is tough to make that commitment again. But we don't have a choice. But we've got good kids with good character. We'll come out, and we'll fight again on Wednesday. Hopefully we'll perform better, and hopefully the ball will go through the hoop for us.
Why did you decide to go to the Four Corners when you did? They got on a run, and the crowd got into it and I just wanted to slow them down, I wanted to try to control tempo a little bit. I thought it was somewhat effective, but we didn't score out of it. I thought we got some decent looks out of it though.