LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Asked what it was like to coach against each other Wednesday night, the answers from Florida International's Richard Pitino and Louisville's Rick Pitino were so similar it was as if they rehearsed them over dinner.
"Yes we did," Richard joked about the mimicry after FIU's 79-55 loss to No. 5 Louisville. "We talked about how we were going to lie to you guys."
Both men said the intensity of coaching made them forget the other was on the opposing sideline.
"Honestly, I thought it was going to be weird. I really did," the younger Pitino added. "But then when you get through the course of the game, you're worried about the next play you're going to run. You're worried about the next defense you're going to be in. You're worried about who you're going to sub in.
"I didn't have time to stare down at my dad and wave at him."
Richard Pitino, hired in April at age 29 and now 30, was Louisville's associate head coach last season after spending two seasons on Billy Donovan's staff at Florida. He was an assistant under his father the two previous seasons in his first stint at Louisville.
"It was special," Richard said of coming back and seeing players he coached during Louisville's Final Four run last spring. "I think that was the one time ever where you look down at the bench and you love those guys. I love all those kids; I love the coaches and I certainly love my dad."
According to Louisville officials, Wednesday marked just the sixth set of father and son to coach against each other and the 17th total matchup. The father has won 15 times, most recently when Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) knocked off Nolan Richardson III (Tennessee State) in 2000.
Richard Pitino embraced the experience, mostly because it provided a chance to see so much of his family. The teams have grown close as well, in large part due to the interest Rick Pitino has taken in the Panthers by attending summer practices and a game against Stetson.
"I think it's almost like two families coming together with FIU and Louisville," Richard Pitino said. "My dad has really embraced our guys. He reaches out to our guys all the time. He treats them almost like they're his own players and I think our guys love it."
Wednesday was certainly FIU's biggest stage this season. The Panthers had played before a total of 9,565 spectators in their seven games – including a high of 2,811 in the season opener at Boston College – before their trip to Louisville.
Wednesday's attendance was 21,411.
"I've never played in front of that many people before so I was kind of nervous in the beginning," said Panthers forward Tymell Murphy, who led FIU with 12 points and 12 rebounds. "I just wanted to get a rebound or score or something to take my mind of the crowd."
Peyton Siva's career highs of five 3-pointers and 12 assists led the way for Louisville.
Russ Smith added 14 points for Louisville, which held FIU to just 33 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers leading to 25 points.
The Panthers trailed just 25-19 14 minutes into the game but 3-pointers by Smith and Siva 21 seconds apart pushed the lead to 12.
After starting 7 of 14 from the field the Panthers shot just 5 of 18 the rest of the first half.