Memphis came away with its biggest win of the season on Thursday night, beating No. 12 Louisville 73-67 on the road. As you might expect, the Tigers were ecstatic after getting the best of the defending national champions. Cardinals fans were not happy with the way they handled it.
After the game, Memphis head coach Josh Pastner got into it with some Louisville fans who were shouting at him and his players. Pastner apparently took offense to some fans calling his players thugs.
Pastner told them "You grow up! We have a perfect APR score!" Was in response, he said, to L'ville fans calling his players thugs on way out
— L. Jason Smith (@TheCAJasonSmith) January 10, 2014
According to Matthew Willinger of CardinalSports.com, Pastner also got into it with Louisville forward Stephan Van Tresse’s father just before he headed into the media room for his postgame press conference. A Louisville police officer stepped in to diffuse the situation.
Pastner downplayed the exchanges and called the Louisville fans “tremendous” during his presser, comparing them to Memphis fans. He did, however, offer some insight about what set him off.
“The only thing I ever get sensitive on is if anybody ever says our guys are low class or anything in that manner,” Pastner said, via Kyle Ringo of The Dagger. “We have a perfect APR score. … Say I’m the worst coach in the world. Say I can’t coach zone. I’m the worst press coach. I look like I’m 13. I should be fired. I’m the worst this. I’m the worst that, but the thing that gets to me is if you say our kids (are bad) cause we’ve done a great job. That’s been a point of emphasis.”
You can’t expect the Memphis players to completely contain their excitement after such a huge win, just as you can’t expect Louisville fans to keep their frustrations to themselves. Fans will be fans. By barking back at them, Pastner just gives them a reason to say something the next time around.