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Jan. 11, 2009

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes


St. John’s at Pitt, January 11, 2009, Petersen Events Center


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon:


Opening Statement:


“I thought we did some things really well today. We were able to create a lot of turnovers and I thought that would be a key for us. That was a matchup we had to exploit and we were able to do that.  When you get 24 assists it’s hard to complain as a coach, but I thought we could have been crisper in transition and that we missed some good opportunities there. Maybe that’s a product of being off for eight days.  We need to rebound a little bit better, but when you’re creating so many turnovers, there aren’t as many shots going up, so that number is going to be lower.”


On Jermaine Dixon’s play:


“We’ve been stressing to him not so much about driving more, but rather about what he does when he decides to drive. We want to make sure he goes hard to the rim with a purpose and doesn’t make so many jump passes. It’s important for him to finish strong. We thought with their depth Jermaine would have an opportunity to take advantage of that and he did.”


On Pitt’s depth:


“It’s really nice as a coach to be able to get everyone who’s healthy some minutes. I think depth has been a strength of ours all season, but it’s especially a strength in a game like this. St. John’s has had some injuries, so if you’re able to get contributions from everyone you can really wear a team like that down. I thought that’s really what happened in the second half.”


On playing the first game ranked number one:


“We have great senior leaders on this team, who make sure that things like that don’t influence the way we play. It’s certainly a wonderful accomplishment, but you don’t want things like that to distract you from the ultimate goal. With guys like Levance Fields, Tyrell Biggs and Sam Young, you know their going to be focused on every game and won’t let their teammates get distracted.”


On Gilbert Brown’s play:


“Everyone wants to talk about his athleticism, and that’s special for sure. For me though, I’m more impressed with his smarts and the way he gets what we’re trying to do as a program. You wonder sometimes with young players if they’re going to grasp the team’s philosophy and I have no doubt Gilbert understands what it means to be on the floor for us. Today for example, he’s trying to get some of our walk-on a shot in the last minutes. That’s the right thing to do there.”


Quoting Pitt’s Levance Fields:


On Pitt’s second half play:


“I thought we were rushing a lot early on. Maybe it was the eight day layoff or the excitement of being back home, but we just weren’t very crisp at the start. In the second half we executed much better and Jermaine Dixon was able to get some steals for easy buckets. That really got the crowd into it and helped us close out the game.”


On the significance of being ranked No. 1:


“Obviously because it’s the first time in the program’s history, you take notice of it. But we’re smart, experienced players here, so no one’s getting a big head or letting it change the way we play. There’s still a long season to go.”


Quoting Pitt’s Jermaine Dixon:


On Pitt’s defense:


“We noticed in the first half that they were throwing a lot of blind cross court passes. Brad [Wanamaker] and I both felt that if we were aggressive, we could get some steals. That’s what happened, and we were able to get some easy baskets out of them, too.”


Quoting Pitt’s DeJuan Blair:


On Pitt’s free-throw shooting:


“We know it’s something that we have to get better at. If you look at Memphis last year, their foul shooting cost them the national title. With our depth, teams are going to foul us and put us on the line, so we know we have to knock them down to get where we want to go.”


Quoting St. John’s Head Coach Norm Roberts:


Opening Statement:


“I give them a lot of credit. They are a good team. They’re a bunch of veterans and we’re not. DeJuan Blair is a beast, especially off the glass. The first half we really battled but they did a good job of wearing us down in the second half.”


On St. John’s play:


“We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball. We turned the ball over way too many times.  We were giving Pitt easy opportunities and we can’t do that to the best team in the country. We had a lot of guys play a lot of minuets, simply because we don’t have the depth. That wore us down.”


On the loss:


“It’s disappointing, but we have freshmen and sophomores and they have juniors and seniors.  This was a great environment to play in, it was tough, but that’s the Big East. You play a team, put the game away, see what you did wrong, learn from it, and move on to play the No. 5 team in the country.”


On DeJuan Blair:


“He’s a Mack truck off the glass. He’s a very physical player and he has an excellent lower body, that’s where rebounding comes from. He knows how to use his body and his mind set is to go after the ball.”


Quoting St. John’s D.J. Kennedy:


On playing in his hometown:


“It was a great atmosphere. I was just glad to come home and get the opportunity to play in front of my family and my hometown. It was a big game.”


On playing against his high school teammate DeJuan Blair:


“He’s a beast. He turns rebounds into points. He can go through a game and not even touch the ball and have 20 points from just rebounding. We were saying to each other how we’ve come a long way since high school, playing at this level. The atmosphere is great and I’m just glad we were given a chance to play.”


On the game:


“We got killed by rebounds. Pitt got a lot of offensive rebounds in the second half and that hurt us.  When they went on their run, we got down on ourselves. We should have kept fighting.  When a team that’s number one goes on a run, it’s tough to come back.”

Post-Game Quotesheet

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