POSTGAME: What Otzelberger said after loss to Pitt

Below is a transcript of T.J. Otzelberger’s postgame press conference following Iowa State’s 59-41 loss to Pitt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

T.J. OTZELBERGER: Credit Pitt for a really good game plan and executing it. They were the better team here today.

Really proud of our guys, how they continued to fight, but it just wasn’t our best today. Unfortunately, hate that it happened on this stage, but, again, all the credit goes to Pitt and the game that their coaches put together and their players executed.

Q.  Hey, Coach, is there anything that you can point to as to, you know, shooting 23 percent, why that might have happened?

T.J. OTZELBERGER: Yeah, I mean, for us, we’re a team that is fueled by our defense and felt like early we didn’t dictate and disrupt quite as well as we needed to to get our natural rhythm going.

You know, I feel like our guys were working really hard to get great opportunities and their effort was good, but, you know, Pitt had a sound plan. They were playing personnel really heavy, and it worked for them here today.

So, you know, credit to their defense. Just we didn’t see it go through the hoop enough.

Q.  For either of the players. Is there a level of frustration that starts to build after a while when you miss a few of those shots particularly early on that it tends to be a little bit of a snowball effect?

TRE KING: Definitely there’s always a little bit of frustration. You know you always want to have your shot falling and stuff like that. Like Coach said, we are a team that prides ourselves on defense. One thing that he has instilled into us is whenever our offense is not falling, take pride on the defensive end to get it falling on offense.

GABE KALSCHEUR: Like Tre said, we fuel ourselves with defense, and that kind of gets us going. When the ball is not going in, we work on these shots. We stay true to who we are with mechanics and confidence.

So, I mean, that’s not a factor of kind of why the ball was going in. It just wasn’t going in. Sometimes that happens, and you just have to eat the punches, but we kind of wish we had that one back and wish our offense was going smoothly, but…

Q.  The NCAA said you guys asked to have that basket checked, the one that you shot in the first half. By any chance did that mentally possibly play into the kids’ minds?

T.J. OTZELBERGER: Yeah, I don’t know. I can’t speak for our guys. I wasn’t sure what all happened by the time they came out. They were checking it, and obviously there was a delay.

I like to think our guys have enough mental toughness. We’ve been in a lot of big games and a lot of tough environments that that wouldn’t impact us, but I can’t speak for them exactly on that and how it affected them mentally.

GABE KALSCHEUR: Definitely wasn’t a factor. One thing that we’ve always talked about is how adversity is always coming. You know how we deal with it, and that was one of those things that wasn’t for us in the beginning. We knew that, and we played it in our mind and we just knew we had to come out and play even harder.