Head Coach Ken McDonald on the Louisville press, which forced 25 turnovers:
“I think Louisville is a great pressure team, and obviously that’s the history with coach Pitino. We talked a lot about how to handle pressure and how we’re going to do that and being organized. I thought they did a pretty good job trying to take A.J. (Slaughter) out of the game by doubling him and running at him early. We just didn’t deliver the ball when we needed to deliver the ball.”
McDonald on the Toppers’ response to the pressure:
“I didn’t think we were aggressive enough as well — you know, passing the ball. Not only getting out of that first trap but also attacking. A typical coach Pitino team, they just kept getting more aggressive. As we stayed kind of passive, they got more aggressive and it led into the second half as well.”
McDonald on what Western could have done different with the press:
“We weren’t cutting hard enough and they were doing a pretty good job denying that first pass. We talked about at halftime, we have to make second cuts, third cuts if that was going to have to be it. Organization — we had to make sure we were organized with our press offense. There were no surprises in the game in terms of what we were ready to expect. We didn’t go out and execute our press offense and stay aggressive.
The biggest thing is, we’ve got to have more confidence facing that pressure and moving on. Didn’t think we handled the crowd well at all — we talked about that a lot, and this is probably the first true road environment. We talked about how this place was going to get loud, and we’re going to have the handle that. The runs really hurt you because then the crowd really starts to get into it and we didn’t handle it well.”
McDonald on the effects of losing junior forward Sergio Kerusch:
“You miss Sergio in a lot of ways. What you miss is his ability to make up for plays with offensive rebounds. Defensively, he’s coming on a little bit being able to guard guys. Just athleticism. Not only were we hurt turning the ball over, we were hurt on the offensive glass.”
McDonald said Kerusch will undergo surgery on Sunday and miss at most eight weeks.
“We feel for him. He’s a great kid, he’s worked hard, and 10 minutes into practice yesterday he comes down on someone’s foot. So it’s a really tough situation for him, and we’re all going to have to pick up the slack.”
Slaughter on how the Toppers will adjust without Kerusch:
“Everybody has to step up. It’s not going to be one guy to step up. It’s going to be the whole team. Everybody is going to have to up their play as a team, and we’ve got to come together to fill that void.
“We can’t use that as an excuse. Injuries happen.”
Slaughter on Western’s overall play Saturday:
“It was very disappointing. I felt like we were really getting back on track, got a couple wins and beat Vandy. Then to just come out today and not play up to par is really disappointing for me and my teammates.
“It’s very frustrating and just embarrassing how we didn’t come out and play hard. We could have easily been in this game, but we just let it slip out of our hands.”
Junior forward Steffphon Pettigrew on what was different between Saturday’s game and the last time Louisville and Western met:
“I think we had more ball pressure on their guards (last season). I tried to fight in there and tried to limit (Samuels’) touches as best I could, but they just built that run and our heads dropped after that.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino on taking Slaughter out of the game offensively:
“We worked very hard on our trapping scheme to make sure they went east and west toward the sidelines — not only in the full court, but in the half-court situations. They were a big pick and roll team, and we were going to make sure they were going to get the ball in (Slaughter’s) hands and make him pass the ball.”