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Everything Chris Mack said after Louisville’s win over Wake Forest

2-0 in the ACC.

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Wake Forest v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Louisville Head Coach Chris Mack Postgame Comments

(Opening statement)

“We beat a good team. We beat a team that has played really well this year. As I told the guys in the locker room after we played that game, really for what seemed like the last 30 minutes, was coming from behind. We continued to pull and claw our way back to even or a bucket behind, and had the wherewithal and the stick-to-it-tiveness to earn a victory at the end. I am happy for the team. We only had three practices since Western Kentucky. We had eight days where we didn’t do anything. You can look at the minutes and figure out who has been sick and who hasn’t had the opportunity or the time to be who they have been. I thought for us, it was a gut-check win. I thought there were some key contributions. Sydney Curry, despite not playing a ton of minutes, really impacted the game. He brought a lot of juice to the game. He exerted his toughness around the basket. I thought Mason Faulkner was really who we thought he was going to be this year. He is slowly getting over the ankle injury and finding his feet under him. He has a penchant for making big plays in big moments. He just can’t celebrate them and then get lost in transition. But that is another story. I thought Malik (Williams) set the tone. He talked to the team at today’s shootaround. I have always said that he is a terrific leader. Today, his message was spot on. Our guys responded. I am happy we won. I know we aren’t a finished product. We have ways to get better. We will have Georgia Tech on Sunday.”

(On scoring droughts in the first half): “Overall, we shot 34 free throws and a few of them were at the end when they were fouling but other than that, we were in the bonus. We have talked about that two games ago. It was tough to do at Western Kentucky, because they spread out in a two-three and put the big fellow in the middle underneath. We have a continued emphasis on getting the ball in the paint. I thought there is so much you can do, and I am not trying to place the blame, but we missed some easy ones around the rim, some backscreen layups and things around the basket that we have to get to fall. We have to learn to recognize that when we go three or four possessions in a row and haven’t gotten a bucket, we can’t take the first three that comes our way. Our team is still learning that. We were way better in that area, but we still weren’t perfect.”

(On Noah Locke’s threes) “I thought he was going to hit that one in front of our bench which would have put us up five, but when you have the stones to come back, when the play was basically for him, I think that was a shot he hit during my suspension, but I can’t remember the game — same play though. We have a ton of confidence in Noah (Locke). Where he has to grow, and I am going to continue to stay on him as his coach, is in other areas. I thought he came up with some loose balls in the second half which he didn’t during the first 25-30 minutes. His defense has improved a lot. He’s a threat. He is a magnet to defenders. The first basket that Malik made, he got because their big man was hedging out to cover such a terrific shooter.”

(On Mason Faulkner’s minutes) “He has stepped up and earned his minutes. He was a guy who only played in one or two of the exhibition games and the reason for that was he wasn’t really ready. We are a couple steps up from the exhibition season. We are playing ACC teams. They were 11-1 coming in. We knew it was going to be a progression with him, but we also knew what kind of player we were getting once he was healthy. I think he has never been injured before. He has never had surgery before until that ankle surgery. It takes time. The doctor can say ‘you are good’ but it is between the ears and feeling confident and I think he has gotten to that point.”

(On Mason Faulkner and Jarrod West sharing the point guard duties) “They’re interchangeable. We can, depending on who’s guarding them, put that defender in a ball screen situation to get through. Jarrod (West) expends a lot of energy on the defensive end and guarded what I think is a first team All-ACC Player in Alondes (Williams) for most of the night. You add in the fact that I think Mason is big in big moments, that ball is going to be in his hands a little bit and he did a great job.”

(On emotion from Mason Faulkner) “We need that juice. We need that juice from our bench, from our staff, we need it from the Yum! Center. I thought the crowd was awesome. The last 10 minutes of the game was certainly louder than was all here last year. I think it can rattle opponents. He plays with a lot of energy. He plays with a lot of motion. He’s a tough kid and cares about the game and he’s growing into being healthy and figuring it out.”

(On Samuell Williamson starting and his performance) “I’m happy for him. It hasn’t been an easy year for him. I think he gets often maligned but he’s never hung his head. He’s never quit coming in with the right attitude. He deserved the opportunity that he got tonight. He’s going to be a big part of our team moving forward. He has to be consistent, like a lot of our guys. I thought he put some juice in the building tonight. He ran through a couple passes when his man was bumping the ball screen and caught him off guard. He rebounded the ball. He’s a junior, so he must be a grown up for us out there and that’s being consistent. He did that tonight and I’m happy for him and hopefully that continues.”

(On bringing energy to this game) “We’ve talked a lot about that. We got some guys that really care about winning care about one another. We’re a new team with guys figuring out their roles. We’ve got to play for one another, and we’ve got to play harder, and we’ve got to play tougher than we did against Western Kentucky. We did that tonight. It doesn’t give us any entitlement to do it on Sunday.”

(On importance of getting everyone involved) “It’s really important. We’re not going to be a team that has an Alondes (Williams), who can score 25 points a night, maybe, but like not every single night. We can’t have guys that end up with no points in the game. I can’t look at the starting five and see that three guys scored and two didn’t. The only way that’s going to happen is if we work together and quit taking the first shot that we find. I think our team has been working on that awfully hard.”

(On if Jarrod West needs to be more aggressive offensively) “Jarrod has got to run our team, he’s got to take what the defense gives him. He’s in the ACC, if he goes in there wildly, he’s going to get swallowed up and he’s going to get shot thrown back. He’s got to play with juice on the defensive end, which is how he played the night. I’ll take that every night.”

(On drawing lots of fouls from Wake Forest) “We’ve got to play confrontational and then the game changes. The game changes when you look up there and they’re 16 fouls for Wake and there’s 10 minutes left in the half. You can run plays where you reject the ball screen and get a hand check. You can do things as a coach to manufacture some fouls and if guys play aggressive, we’ll get there.”

(On the team learning how to play with pace correctly) “That’s what I think our team thought it meant, but we have to search for the best shot that we can get, not the first shot. There are certain guys on the team that if it’s an advance in transition, I want Noah (Locke) shooting it. I don’t know if I want 10 other guys on the roster shooting it. Not that I’m not confident in their abilities, but I think we can get that shot at any point in a 30-second shot clock. We’re teaching and learning.”