Louisville - Michigan State Notebook

Rick Pitino, Gorgui Dieng, Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan discuss Louisville's 57-44 win over Michigan State Thursday night in the West Region semifinals in Phoenix.

Rick Pitino Opening Statement
Our guys prepared really hard this week for this game. We talked about what we wanted to accomplish with this tournament. We're proud of them.

The whole focus -- we watched Ohio State and Michigan State game and it was as rough a basketball game as I've seen since I've been a coach. And our guys were very, very impressed with Michigan State. And we had three goals coming into this: One was to stop the three; two was to try and outrebound them, which is a daunting task; and then three, we wanted to protect Gorgui with our life.

We felt that if we could keep Gorgui in the game we could beat them. And everybody had to guard the middle, contain the basketball and keep Gorgui from getting in foul trouble. And he played a brilliant game. Chane played a brilliant game. These guys are complete warriors. I don't know what Chane was getting disappointed about missing free throws, because without him we don't win this game. He was a man-child in the second half.

Can you just talk about, a lot was made about Michigan State's front court and their rebounding ability and everything. Did you take that as a personal challenge kind of like when you guys played Cincinnati that second time after Yancy Gates got the better of you in the preseason. Did you kind of take it personal?
GORGUI DIENG: When we came here we know we're going to face -- this game -- it could have been nice, it could have been a very nice game. We knew we were going to come to a war. We need to be tougher than them to win this game. And when they also have free control their big men, and stay out of foul trouble, they're going to help us win this game. And we try our best. We listen what coach want us to do. And win this game.


Can you talk a little bit about you guys being able to control Draymond and keep him from dominating the game?
CHANE BEHANAN: Our whole focus wasn't on Draymond, just on the team itself. We did talk about Draymond, how we had to limit his touches and try to stay in front of him. He's a heck of a player. Once we did that, I think we took control of the game. He started getting fouls and we just ran up and down the court and tried to tire him out,try to do our best we can to put a body on him. I think it was good, we got the W.

There was a stretch in the second half, I think you guys were up six and Draymond had a pretty good look and a drive in the lane. Gorgui dropped it and you go down and get the turnover and all of a sudden it's a ten-point game. Did that stretch stand out to you? It seemed like if it was a tight game it turned a little in your favor.
COACH PITINO: You know what our press does a lot of times? It just wears people out. We didn't really want to trap them. We wanted to run and jump to get to the legs. And for us to have Draymond bring the ball up was great. We said just turn them, just turn them, just turn them, because then he wouldn't have as much energy as he would other times.

Certain people we try to create steals or traps or rotate. Tonight we just tried to get into our zone, wear them out and neutralize the backboard. Because this is a team that's plus eight. And our guys, we felt we could win.

But when they watched the Ohio State game, I immediately felt very uncomfortable showing that at the end, because we watched the whole game, because they were so strong and tough that I immediately showed them the Indiana game at IU, so they realized that Michigan State -- that was a great basketball game. And we immediately had to get their confidence going again.

We talked about all the things we wanted to do. And our guys, we knew this game was going to be low scoring because they are the second -- we're both tied for the second-best field goal in the nation. And the defense usually doesn't break. It's the offense that does.

Gorgui played 40 minutes, was that the plan going in? Having coached NBA players, how satisfying is it for you to coach someone that hungry to improve their life?
COACH PITINO: Well, I saw Kim Bohuny from the NBA office, I knew from my NBA days, she goes over there a lot. I said Kim, can you get me anymore Africans? Tell me where they are, I'll go over there. I don't care. Congo, Senegal, wherever it is, I'll go.

I love Gorgui so much. Because we're not a humble society, athletes today. The Africans are so humble and so hungry. It's just so much fun coaching him because it's a throwback.

This team reminds me so much of my '87 Providence team because they're so humble and so hungry. I've got a bunch of texts going into this, it's our 25th anniversary, and the guys said, is Miami on? I gave them the choice of New Orleans, Miami or the Kentucky Derby to celebrate our 25th reunion. And they took Miami. They texted me, and said, are we still on for the date? I said let me check with Billy the Kid and then we're on.

I told my team before the game tonight, here it is 25 years and it's still like they're my best friends in life. I said, you're two games away from having a 25th reunion yourself. And nobody ever forgets a Final Four team. So that was our speech before the game.

Louisville Locker Room

Freshman forward Chane Behanan

On the outcome:

"Defense was a factor. We had to band together. We scouted them a lot through the whole process and the entire week. I think we did a tremendous job stopping them. It was a heck of a game. It was fun playing."

Junior guard Peyton Siva
On Chane Behanan's performance:

"This was a big game for everybody. Chane (Behanan) plays big. He really stepped up big tonight. He knocked down key free throws and rebounds. He told me to come get the ball on the fast break because he did not know what to do with it, but he is making good decisions."

On Florida and Marquette's matchup:

"I think both teams are the same. They both like to run and shoot. I know we know a lot about Marquette. Coach Pitino knows a lot about Florida. Either way it is going to be a tough game, a hard fought game. I am looking forward to it."

Post-Game Notes

Louisville captured its fourth win in program history over a No. 1 seed with the victory over Michigan State. The last time the Cardinals achieved the feat was on March 24, 2005, when they defeated No. 1 seed Washington, 93-79, in the regional semifinals.

Louisville's record in the month of March is 40-17 since 2005. Head coach Rick Pitino has a 108-39 collegiate record in the month, including a 51-24 mark at Louisville.

Head coach Rick Pitino owns a 41-15 (.732 winning percentage) record in the NCAA Tournament, ranking him sixth among active coaches in winning percentage and 14th all time.

? Pitino is now a perfect 10-0 in NCAA Sweet 16 games, including a 4-0 record at Louisville. Pitino pushed the Cardinals' regional semifinal game record to 10-8 since 1975.

Louisville's record as a No. 4 seed is 13-7. This year's tournament marks the eighth time the Cardinals have participated in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 4 seed.

The Cardinals' defense limited Michigan State to just 18 points in the second half, the fifth time this season the Cardinals have held an opponent to less than 20 points.

Michigan State's 18 first-half points are its fewest in the opening period this season. The Spartans finished the game shooting 28.6 percent (14-of-49) from the field, their second-worst performance - they shot 24.1 percent at Illinois on Jan. 31, 2012 - of the year. The Spartans shot a combined 57 percent from the field in wins over LIU Brooklyn and Saint Louis in the second and third rounds, respectively.

Louisville connected on seven 3-pointers in the first half, the most the Cardinals have hit in the first half since knocking down eight against Boise State in the first round of the East Regional in Birmingham, Ala., on March 21, 2008. Louisville has hit at least five 3-pointers in the first half of the NCAA Tournament 10 times since 2003, and at least five in the second half six times.

Peyton Siva dished out nine assists in the game, giving him 200 for the season. The total ranks second most in a single season. For his career, he has collected 438, which ranks eighth all time in school history. He passed Milt Wagner (1981-86), who was previously in eighth with 432 assists.

Gorgui Dieng finished the game with seven blocks, tying Pervis Ellison (7 vs. Illinois, 1989) for the most by an individual in an NCAA Tournament game. The total pits him in a five-way tie for the fourth most in a regional game in NCAA history. Louisville is one of just two teams to appear twice on that list, as Pervis Ellison had seven vs. Illinois on March 24, 1989. Wake Forest's Tim Duncan had eight blocks versus Oklahoma State on March 24, 1995, and then totaled seven against Louisville on March 21, 1996.

Gorgui Dieng has 123 blocks this season. Through his two-year career, he has registered 179 blocks, which ranks fourth all-time. He passed Rodney McCray (1979-83), who was previously in fourth with 178 blocks.

The last time a player had at least five blocked shots in a game was Gorgui Dieng, who swatted six in the win over Seton Hall in the second round of the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament on March 7, 2012.

Gorgui Dieng hit his first career 3-pointer in the first half at the 4:09 mark in the first half.

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