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Everything Chris Mack said after Louisville’s win over SE Louisiana

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Southeastern Louisiana v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

(Opening statement)

“I made the point to our team after we played DePaul, and certainly in the press conferences I had preparing for this game, and then after the game, that we had to do a much better job of being a little bit more confrontational, figuring out how to get the ball in the lane and get to the free throw line so the game can be a little bit longer. We’re not perfect, but I thought, where we settled on the amount of free throws that we were able to get tonight it is a vast improvement. I really think that no matter who the competition would have been tonight, had we played with the same mentality that we had over the last two, three, four games, we probably would have shot 30 threes, we probably would have gone to the free throw line eight to 10 times. Our team has to be able to do both. Football coaches, and I have never played football, I love watching football… You have to be able to run and pass. It is a little bit like us. We have to be able to get the ball in the lane, get to the free throw line, and be able to score in the interior. We had our opportunities and sometimes we’re not finishing them like we need to, but we need to have those types of attempts. Then mix in feet set threes. There are certain guys should be able to shoot them at any point they catch the ball as long as they’re open. They will do a better job. I believe in Noah Locke I know he’s struggling right now. I know what he is as a shooter, I see him every day in practice. It is going to take one or two to go down and that’s going to happen for us.”

(Did you see that more confrontational approach?)

“A little bit, we try to be pretty specific with it too. Several of our sets were to the rim, whether they were drives, slips, post-ups… I can’t just tell those guys ‘be more confrontational,’ and us play five-out, four-out, one-in at times or four-out with a big opposite. We’ve got to put our guys in position where they can be confrontational and have a lot of confidence because they know this is the opportunity I have to get the ball to the rim. Again, still had some balls knocked out of our hands, get the ball slapped off of our thigh. A couple of our guys just have to realize that this level, you’ve got to be able to play through contact. You’ve got to expect contact. It’s taken a few guys a little bit longer to learn.”

(On post-ups tonight and scoring in the post)

“Malik (Williams) put a couple in, and you get the ball inside against a smaller team and you’re one foot away from the basket… that’s a good shot for us and it’s going to converge help. Guys like Malik, guys like Dre (Davis) and Sydney (Curry) had a post-up in the first half. We’ve got to be able to know if we get doubled then that’s our opportunity to play four-on-three somewhere else and we’ve got to get the ball out safely. Jae’lyn (Withers) struggles with that - I told him during one of the plays at the end, one of the post-ups, I said ‘The defender has hands, lower the daggone hands and throw the ball out to the man that’s open.’ Again, he’s not used to his back to the basket, but we need him to be a little bit more confrontational, a lot more confrontational.”

(On the number of offensive fouls called on the team tonight, was that a byproduct of you trying to be confrontational)

“Probably. I don’t want to scream at our guys. Again, the decision making needs to be way better, but it probably is a byproduct. I thought a couple of the charges were just careless on our part. We’re going 100 miles an hour when it’s not called for. They’re set up and we’re in a half court five-on-five. There’s probably few of those calls where I wanted them to get the ball in the lane and that shows that they’re taking the message and they’re just getting better at it.”

(What did JJ Traynor do to earn more minutes)

“I just feel like he’s long and has a good touch. JJ (Traynor) is behind those other guys. It just is what it is. In the time he got in the beginning, he gets thrown out of the way for an offensive rebound on a free throw. We talked to him about how they’re switching ball screens and tried to get in and out before the switch can occur, so we get you down the lane. Again, he hasn’t had a lot of experience playing this year. But I’ve been in that situation too as a player. You give me four assignments, I’m going to make sure I’m 4-for-4, not 1-for-4. I’ve got to be able to count on him. That’s how you earn more and more minutes. But he’s behind those guys. On the perimeter, he’s got a good touch. He struggles when guys get up under him in four-out, one-in situations. I also think our other guys need to play better. I don’t know what to expect in a few of these guys. They’re going to have to figure out how to earn that trust from our coaching staff, where we can say, ‘Hey, he’s getting a shot after Malik (Williams) comes out.’ We’ve got to put Jae’lyn (Withers) there. Jae’lyn (Withers) was our second five tonight and that will probably be the way it is moving forward, because we can play a little more unique until a couple of those other guys can figure it out.”

(With the emphasis that you guys had down in the paint this game, did that allow you guys to get a little more comfortable shots out on the perimeter and getting better looks out there?)

“I think you will. I can’t necessarily say that that was the reason we got great looks tonight. But, it just makes sense, man. You start getting the ball in the lane, defenses collapse. If they don’t, you can finish your contact or over your defender. Then you’re just going to continue to do that. If they bring a help defender, if they slide over to take a charge you spray it out, you’re going to be more open. We tried to play too much around the perimeter and generate those threes. That’s not good basketball for us.”

(What kind of test do you expect against Western Kentucky?)

“It’s a great rivalry game. They certainly get up for us and we get up for them. We know it’s an intra-state game. There is going to be a lot of emotion in the arena on Saturday and that’s a good thing. Our guys are looking forward to the challenge. Just because we’ve played well away from home the majority of the time doesn’t mean we’ve earned it on Saturday. We’ve got to have really good practices leading up to the game and go in there with an outside the wire mentality.”