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Jan. 8, 2011

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  AP Action Photos 


Marquette at No. 5 Pitt, Petersen Events Center, January 8, 2011

No. 5 Pitt 89, Marquette 81


Opening Statement:


“Marquette is a very good team; I think that goes without saying. They’re going to win a lot of games. Two very good offensive teams played today, as you know, looking at the stats beforehand. Obviously they lengthened the game with fouls and the number of free throws shot at the end, but we did a lot of good things. We went 60 percent from the field, only had 10 turnovers , which is below the 12 we want to stay under, and obviously we were right around the number we wanted to be at in a category where we’re one of the best in the country and that is assist-to-turnover ratio. Having an assist-to-turnover ratio at 24-to-10 speaks volumes. We shot 55 percent from three point range and 70 percent from the free throw line so offensively you can’t be more efficient than that. Marquette’s good, they kept battling even though we had a good lead. They never really got too close but they played hard and they are a very good team. They’re hard to guard because of their versatility and their quickness. They’re a very good team and very well coached.”


On the higher offensive output this season than years past:


“I always say ‘we can always be, we can always be’ and that’s what we strive for, we can always get better. We shoot the ball better than maybe any other team that we’ve had and I think that’s something that’s improved our scoring. We’ve always been a good assist-to-turnover and offensive rebounding team and so all those things together makes for a good offense. We are scoring high now too, but being a team from Pittsburgh you’ll always be a defensive, hard-nosed team like the Steelers always have been and we’re never going to get away from it. That’s a good thing to be though. Our offense has been good year-to-year and this team is very good offensively but we’re just trying to improve every day.

I thought our passing was tremendous in the first half and we ran really good sets, we executed those. In the second half I don’t think we executed as well but our numbers were good, we shot 65 percent. They ran a little triangle-and-two and maybe I didn’t call as good of sets as I could have but we shot 65 percent.”


On the play of Lamar Patterson:


“It just seemed like last week everything started clicking for him and he played well in practice. I think everyone was wondering what the feeling was going with Lamar during the last game against Providence, and he’s just practicing better. There’s no other way to put it. He looks more comfortable out there. He’s a young kid, he’s developing physically and he’s feeling more comfortable. With him and Jonathan Moore we have two very good guys and we’ll see how they both go and right now they’re both playing well. They have both played well in practice the last few days actually. Lamar played well today, he played steady and those five rebounds were big for us. This was a little different game because of the way they play. Gary McGhee and our other fives had to guard on the perimeter so they’re not going to get as many rebound with how Marquette plays.”


On Gary McGhee’s improved scoring efficiency:


“One thing you can’t question is Gary McGhee’s work ethic. He cares so much and puts so much time into it. Just last week we’ve seen him do a better job finishing. He works relentlessly on his free throws. His defense has been very good. Dante Taylor’s a little banged up right now, his knee has been bothering him and he’s been sick, but between the two of them we’ve been getting great production. Gary’s just been working so hard. Every day he’s out there working with different coaches. He’s just continuing to work on finishing and finishing higher. It’s great to see his hard work pay off.”


On his rotation of 11 players:


“I’ve been fortunate this year hasn’t been that tough because it’s tougher to put in bad players, and I’ve always had good players to put in. That’s always important and it’s easier that way. Seeing how guys develop, how we were talking about Lamar earlier, I often bring up early in the year when everybody wants to be in that starting rotation in November and I’m quick to counter with letting them know nothing is defined to show them that player development is important to us. Maybe others don’t put that much emphasis on player development but we do, and guys can improve at different rates so our rotation is not set. We’re going to have different guys always playing; J.J. Richardson gave us solid minutes today. We’re going to play 11 guys and maybe not every game but they’re all a big factor on our team.

This week in practice we worked a lot on breaking the press and guys like Nick Rivers and Aron Nwankwo gave us a great week of practice. One of our objectives in this game was to cut down our turnovers and we did. When you’re number one in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio and you have a game like this then we know we’re getting it to where we want to be.”


On Gary McGhee’s confident play:


“I think it’s a combination of things. I think it goes back to his teammates because they see him playing hard and they give him confidence and I think when you’re teammates are working that hard then it’s easy to be confident with them. I think he’s just gotten better each year; it’s been part of his development. Where he was in November, I had hoped he’d be a better player by January and I think he is. It’s good to see. He’s really working hard and he always has.”


On difference between this year’s team and previous Pitt teams’ under Coach Dixon:


“I think you can’t really compare our team to last year and especially compare for the whole season. I know that last year we were one of the only teams whose scoring average went up in conference play which never happens. Obviously, we were under manned last year and had to deal with injuries among other things. It’s hard to compare the whole season. I think sometimes your opponent has something to do with a higher scoring output. Marquette is a high scoring team too. They lengthen the game with fouls and that’s part of it, rather than grinding out every bucket. I think we’re good offensively. Are we better than last year’s team offensively? I think we can be.”


On great winning efficiency in important Big East games:


“You don’t want to take it for granted but we do expect to win and our fans expect us to win. I guess it’s better than the alternative. It’s not easy but we expect to win. We still have to go out there and play hard and play well and we did. But we’ve got to get right back to work on Monday and Tuesday because the problem with this league is you never get a day off. We just got a good win and now we go to Georgetown Wednesday and play the number one team in RPI. It says a lot about our team because this conference has been pretty good the last couple years, by far the best in the country.”


Quoting Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker


On Offense:


“We got an early lead, passed the ball well and had 24 assists. We shared the ball well and everyone contributed today. In practice we make shots and that gives us the confidence we need for games. We had a tough game in Providence, but this win is a great way for us to bounce back and Lamar Patterson has been playing great for us.”


On Pitt’s adjustments after Providence:


“In the Providence game they constantly rushed us and we knew after watching the film a change needed to be made. Once we had patience, started making the passes and used the shot clock our guys came through. When we get an early lead, like today, everyone starts making shots then we know it is going to be a good game.”



On points per game:


“The balance of our team is definitely improving. We have multiple guys who come in and lead us in scoring in each and every game. This means that we aren’t being a selfish team and everyone contributes by passing the ball around. It seems like we take turns making the shots we need to win the game.”


Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs:


On Defense:


“We wanted to make it tough for Marquette early on and not let them get the ball from us.  We wanted to have an early post position, which is what Coach Dixon was stressing on us.  As a team, we did a good job at it, but at times I make mistakes. Overall, I think as a team we came together and did a great job. Coach Dixon stressed at practice that we need to be patient and that is something we carried over into this game, and need to continue for the upcoming games.” 


Quoting Gary McGhee


On Pitt’s game:


“The important thing for us was to not allow them to make any lay ups. We started making our major stops. Our guards did a good job with penetrating and getting in the middle when Marquette was playing their defense.  We went through the middle, but when Marquette started to step it up that is when they scored the easy lay ups against our players.”


On previous games:


“The last couple games have given me the confidence to keep working hard, and when I am able to get the ball down low then I can go up strong with it and finish. Over the past few games this has been my main goal and it has really helped me out.”


Quoting Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams


On Pitt’s record at the Petersen Events Center:


“All the respect should go to the players and coaches that have been a part of that record.  It’s a great place for Pitt to play, with the students down near the court in the lower bowl; it’s a great setup. We lost my first year here by 15 and this year by eight so the spread is not very good when we come here.”


On Pitt’s 3-point shooting:


“We never ran them off their routes. They play kind of like the Steelers: they run a play after every dead ball and made basket. They get the ball to Gibbs or Woodall and they run plays. Coming into today they were averaging six 3-pointers a game and today they made 10, we never ran them off their lines.  It’s hard to beat a team who scores 30 percent of their points from long-range. They run more plays than any team in the country.”


On Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs:


“He made four 3-pointers in the first half and we tried switching defenders on him between Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan and Dwight Buycks. Three of his four were on the same exact play. I got mad at Cadougan because Gibbs hit his third three-pointer in a six minute sequence, so he didn’t play as much as maybe he deserved to.”


On Pitt’s lineup:


“They start three seniors and two juniors and all of them have great poise. Then they bring players off the bench who change their rotation, but don’t change their great production. So as a team they’re really good, they know what it’s all about and they’re extremely well coached.”


On Marquette forward Jae Crowder:


“We shouldn’t be so dependent on a guy who’s only in his third Big East game, but we are.  It hurt that he picked up his second foul in the first half with eight minutes left to go, and that limited his minutes in the game. Playing eight minutes in a half without him definitely changes our team. He played 16 minutes in the second half and we outscored Pitt, and that’s with fouling at the end.  That shows statistically his value to us.”


On the rebounding in the game:


“We did a great job offensively on rebounding. Pitt does such a great job on the glass, I would have never thought before the game that we would have more offensive rebounds than them.  They out-rebounded us in total only because they made six out of every 10 shots they took.”


On Marquette guard Dwight Buycks:


“He’s played so well for us, I wouldn’t trade him for anybody in the country. I love what his story is about. When comparing him from who he was when I met him and who he is today, I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

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