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Everything Chris Mack said after Louisville’s loss to Clemson

Duke v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

You can find video of Chris Mack’s postgame press conference here

Q: You talked about how Clemson changed what they did defensively. Is that something the players had to adjust to or was it something you had to work on at halftime?

CHRIS MACK: We felt like at halftime there were a lot of things we could have done better, from making our free throws to finishing through contact underneath. I felt like we had a few plays under the basket that we came up empty on. I can’t fault our effort if we’re getting the ball in the paint. In the second half, it didn’t feel like we got it there as much. Clemson really gapped us tonight, especially off David and Carlik. I’ve got to do a better job of putting some other guys in different positions and run some stuff. I thought we were going to have a bye week this week and could put some things in, but you know, be that as it may we didn’t. And I thought Clemson really made it tough on us in the lane and we couldn’t hit any shots.

Q: You played a lot of guys early. Was that because you knew Clemson likes to play 10-11 guys?

MACK: I just want to play more guys. I feel like our team needs some help off the bench. We need some guys to step up and help and come in. I want to get Charles (Minlend) more acclimated to getting off his injury so he can start to help us be a better team on both ends of the floor. I don’t want Carlik and David to be playing 40 minutes every night. And that was the reason. JJ went in and I thought he played exceptionally well in the first half. That’s why we wound up playing some more guys.

Q: You played defense pretty well and pretty hard. Do you think you played defense well enough to win a game like this?

MACK: There were a couple of possessions you’d like to have at the very end. They came out of a timeout and were able to duck in Sims and Jae’lyn got caught napping a little bit, but for the most part he and JJ did a terrific job on an all-conference type player. He’s their senior, he’s played a ton of ACC games, and they went to him and he got an and-one and it went from 4 to 7. So that was a tough one right there. Outside of maybe a few plays down the stretch I thought our guys played as hard as they could on defense. We didn’t let our offensive woes affect our defensive intensity, our communication, our attention to detail. That’s why you want a little bit more for them on the offensive end to come away with a win.

Q: Nobody’s offering excuses, but how difficult was it to do as a one-day down and back thing?

MACK: It’s something that we opted to do. We’ve won games before doing it. We’ve lost games before doing it. So I’m not going to make any big deal about the travel.

Q: Why do you think Carlik struggled so much tonight?

MACK: They made it difficult on him. Clemson at one point a couple of weeks ago was the No. 1 defensive team in the country, and they didn’t do that by luck. They really keyed in on him. They had guys in the lane when he got the ball there. They bodied him and rode him and put hands on him, and he’s got to be able to play through contact. Give Clemson a lot of credit. They had a plan and they executed that plan defensively.

Q: Did you feel like that was similar with David? He had quite a few turnovers and fewer points.

MACK: They were trying to do that with both guys. I thought David played, for the first time in a while, really sped up, just as evidenced by a few of the turnovers that were unforced, just on a catch. Some of the things he did last year as a freshman he sort of reverted to tonight. But I’ve got confidence in David. That’ll be a one-game thing. He’ll turn around. He’s a terrific player, but he certainly wasn’t at his best tonight.

Q: Can shooting woes become contagious, when a couple of guys miss shots and it starts spreading?

MACK: It did tonight. We’ve got to combat that with a couple of things. Our defensive effort has to be greater — and it was, and I’m proud of our young team to be able to gut it out and not feel sorry for themselves when the ball doesn’t go in. And then we’ve just got to continue to take good shots. In the first half I don’t think we earned a ton of good looks. But in the second half I thought we got some good looks we didn’t knock down. We’ve got to be able to get some offensive rebounds. Can’t finish around the basket, when it won’t go in from 3 or won’t go in from the free-throw line. We’ve got to be able to manufacture points in a muddy game. That’s what Clemson did. And that’s what you have to do when you get involved in games like this.

Q: With the shooting struggles, did they get away from what. you were trying to do offensively, or were there guys doing their own things?

MACK: I don’t think we had anybody doing their own thing. We had some guys trying to make some plays. We got knocked around in the first half around the basket and couldn’t finish through contact. Second half, seemed like there was a lid on the basket, not only from the field but from the free-throw line. You’re going to have games like that. We’ve just got to figure out a way to get a couple more around the basket to go in and stop them from scoring down the stretch like they did.

Q: You said you were more pleased with the effort, but was was your message to the team when, even if the effort was better, the missed shots kept them from getting a win?

MACK: Just that. You’re going to have games like this. You’re going to have games where the ball just doesn’t go in the basket. Didn’t hang our head. We continued to play. Thing about this league is that you always have opportunities that are going to come up. I’ve got to put those guys in better position, so that our offense is a little bit easier for them. But like I said, give Clemson credit. They were the No. 1 defense in the country. I know they haven’t played well as of late, but defensively they really made it hard on David and Carlik tonight, and we didn’t help ourselves my knocking a few open shots down.