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Rick Pitino Talks After Virginia Tech Win

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

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Opening Statement

We went out there and executed terrifically tonight. That team was overmatched tonight, but they worked really, really hard. I wanted to make sure that they weren't embarrassed, because they worked so hard. It was good that we gave some guys an opportunity to play. We've got a big game coming up. I was really pleased with the way our starters played tonight. They did a terrific job.

(On any improvements he saw tonight)

We played well against North Carolina, we played even better tonight. We're getting better, and I think it all stems from Chris Jones' willingness to be a leader and to be a point guard. I still want to see him take open shots because we need that at times, but he was totally into getting people good shots and running the team and doing great things defensively. Really proud of his effort,

Mangok played extremely well. Trez didn't force the issue, he kept passing the basketball. There were a lot of good things.

(On if Montrezl was injured late in the game)

Not that I know of, no.

(On Mangok)

He's thin, so he's a really a power forward. He can get away with playing there tonight, but against Duke he's probably not going to be able to get away with that.

(On Duke)

Duke's got a lot of great weapons that make it very difficult to guard. If you trap the post, which most people do, he's very good at finding open teammates. They're very good off the bounce. What they run is fundamentally sound, they take advantage of their spacing, their shooting, their driving. So it'll be a very tough game for us.

(On Jahlil Okafor)

Okafor is a big-time basketball player because he's just as good mentally as he is physically.

(On what this game might do for Mangok)

I think you'd have to ask him and not me, because I'd probably give you the wrong answer.

(On getting over the North Carolina loss)

Well Mike Gminski says, "you know it's gonna be really tough for your team after that loss to come out and play well." And I looked at him like he had two heads and asked him what he was talking about. He said he thought it would be just the opposite with the Duke game coming up. I said you win conferences beating the Virginia Techs, you don't win it beating the teams at the top, you gotta take care of the teams you're supposed to beat at home. So I didn't really understand his question too well. None of you would ever ask that question.

(On Chris Jones thinking pass first even when he had open shots)

I think against Duke he wouldn't do that, but tonight he was trying to get everybody in the game, and that was good.

(Is it a shift in Jones' mentality?)

I just think he's becoming smarter and smarter and smarter. He's playing with the same type of emotion, but now with intelligence as well. He's not just playing with raw emotion anymore, he's evolving into a true point guard.

(Is the Mangok we saw tonight the one you see in practice?)

Mangok is one of five guys that gives you great energy every day. Every day. He's not the most physically talented guy. He reminds me of Otis George in a lot of ways, and I love Otis because he did so much for our team. Mangok's evolving and I hope he can become an Otis George, because Otis was all over the court defending and protecting everybody. I wouldn't get too carried away with tonight. Mangok has length, and that bothers people, but Chris set him up for almost every one of his plays. Set him up beautifully.

(On resting starters in the second half)

Yeah, we got a chance to play some other people because we were up 25 points. We don't worry about the score. We just wanted to play some other people and make sure nobody gets hurt, nobody gets embarrassed, and move on to the next game. This is a really undermanned squad that they have, but they play real hard, try real hard.