Chris Jones Out For UConn And More Rick Pitino Postgame Quotes

Andy Lyons

Here's the transcript of Rick Pitino's postgame press conference Thursday night:

Opening Statement:

"This was a really good night for us. Our enthusiasm was off the charts. We were ready to play from the moment the ball went up. We have a lot for respect for our opponent and it was very exciting to be on the sidelines and watch these guys perform. I am very excited about all the guys - they played terrific. They didn't let up. It's not very often we see a team in the second half win the second half with a big lead. They were totally focused in on passing the ball. We had 23 assist on 34 buckets, which is outstanding. Great passing tonight. I am really excited for our guys."

On Wayne Blackshear's play coming off the bench:

"Yeah and he was just about of gas. Wayne (Blackshear) is a product of playing 13 or 14 minutes and being in foul trouble, and what happens is you lose your aggressiveness. You don't feel like you can be aggressive anymore. He was very aggressive tonight and did a lot of different things, so I was proud of him and happy for him."

On players who don't get as many minutes playing more this game:

"Anton (Gill) and Akoy (Agau), and I have said many times, are going to very good basketball players. They are just behind at the defensive end, but offensively, they can play. They are as good as any of our guys, but defensively, they're behind. They are going to be very good players in our program, so I was excited they could get minutes like they did tonight. I didn't expect this, so it was exciting to see."

On his team's 23 assists on 34 made baskets:

"I think that this team went for a few ball fakes, and I think our guys were thinking pass before shot. Every time you pass the ball stepping into a 3, good things happen. You noticed we missed a lot off the dribble and dribbling into the 3 in the second half. When you can step in off a pass - and we work very hard in practice and individual instruction on reversing the basketball and stepping into the shot. Every shooting drill we do is off that. The guys were brilliant at passing the basketball."

On Terry Rozier's play:

"He was very consistent. Terry's got to stop worrying about scoring; our philosophy is shoot as many times as you want as long as it's a good shot. He's got to stop concerning himself with that. He'll mature in that area."

On the defensive improvement of Montrezl Harrell:

"We've been working very hard on stance, worked very hard on moving our feet; we did a lot of really good things. The only thing defensively we weren't really good at tonight was transition defense. Sometimes when you spot up in the corners, if you don't immediately react, you're going to get beat and we didn't react very well. We were 11 for 16 they were 11 for 17."

On whether he was happy with Mangok Mathiang's and Stephan Van Treese's play tonight:

"You know, I can't find a fault, period. Even Pistol (David Levitch) was terrific; he went by his man and made a great move to the basket. He's a very emotional kid, you can see that ... a corpse is more emotional."

On the quick turnaround before Saturday's game at Connecticut. 

"Yes, but Connecticut is playing too. They're probably going to beat Memphis and we know it's going to be a great game. They've got one of the premiere back courts. I wish Chris (Jones) was playing - he's not going to play, I wish he was - but I have a lot of confidence in Tim Henderson".

And here's he video (via Jody Demling).

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