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Jan. 21, 2014

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Clemson at No. 20/19 Pitt, Petersen Events Center, January 21, 2013

No. 20/19 Pitt 76, Clemson 43


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon:

Opening Statement:

“Our fans were terrific once again; I was amazed at the crowd. Our student section’s outpouring and support for Durand (Johnson) says a lot about our university, students and our players at the same time. There was no way I anticipated getting that margin of victory against a very good team who’s been playing very good basketball and who coming in was one game out of first place. We played well on both sides. We defended well and the unselfishness was great. It’s hard to be unselfish all the way through for 40 minutes when you have a big lead but I thought that was an unbelievable statement by our players whether it be the guys who came in at the end or the starters they just continued to find the open man and I think everybody enjoyed that. To me the freshmen are the really exciting thing in the story. Those four guys are playing so well; Josh (Newkirk), Chris (Jones), Mike (Young) and Jamel (Artis). I’ve been telling you guys how good of a player Chris Jones is and he’s just going to get better and better and I’m excited for what he’s going to become.”


On Clemson’s low field-goal percentage defense:

“We use it as motivation. The last two days we’ve talked about them being the best field-goal percentage defensive team in the conference and their numbers are remarkable. We really wanted to make a statement. We believe that we can become the best defensive team because we haven’t been at times. We’re a work in progress and we’ve had some moments and have improved as the year has gone on. We’ve had about three or four games where we’ve been really good and this is another one. I constantly talked about their 36% field goal defense and we had to hold them under 36%, we used that as motivation.”


On being successful offensively late in the shot clock:

“We’ve been working on that. I think it’s something we learned in the Cincinnati game where we thought we took too many quick shots early in the year but we had so many new guys and we were trying to find ourselves and I was trying to find out what works best for us but we’ve really worked on that. We run a lot of five on zero stuff where we’re running against the clock in practice. I think patience is a big part of that and guys have to make plays and passes are a big part of that. I think we’re a little bit more comfortable now than we were earlier in the year playing against the late clock in the offensive end. For as patient as we were we still scored 76 points tonight and for as patient as they were it made them use clock.”



On being successful against Clemson’s defense:

“We got a lot of transition baskets. They’re very sound defensively and very good. I think they do a lot of things that we do defensively as far as what they preach. They’re numbers are remarkable and we use it as motivation because that’s what we want to be and if that’s what we claim to be, we haven’t done it from start to finish the whole year. We needed to be patient but also needed to get transition baskets which we got a lot of those. We’re a team that runs and scores a lot of points but also have to slow down. We’ve gotten better at are sets and know what we want to do when we run the clock down.”


On the unselfishness the team showed tonight:

“The assist percentage and percentage on baskets, you just have to look at that. I thought it was remarkable we had guys that were passing up shots, whether they were looking for (Joshua) Ko or Aron (Nwanko), I just thought that was tremendous.”


On the progress freshman Josh Newkirk has shown:

“I really think playing him with James (Robinson) is good for him and something that makes him a better player and we need him given Durand’s situation. He’s going to get better and better he’s just got to defend. He’s been good offensively and a guy that has shot it well and has gone through some shooting pains with playing at this higher level but he has had some very good performances and this fits into that. He’s a great kid who’s getting better and better and a really remarkable kid who I think is going to be a really good player.”


On the maturity of the team after suffering from a tough loss at Syracuse:

“I told our guys afterwards that we’ve grown up a lot the past couple of days. How you handle a very disappointing loss, is there going to be carryover, are you going to be down, I was concerned about that but I thought we responded well in practice on Sunday and on Monday guys were out here early. We looked more angry than disappointed because there’s no question we should have won the game Saturday. We had the ball, up three with three minutes left and missed some layups and open shots. We only have four guys returning and a bunch of guys that haven’t played so you never know how they’ll respond but I sensed the anger more than disappointment and a willingness to do what it takes to get better. One of the things that’s exciting about this team is the youth and the willingness to listen and get better.”


On what they did defensively that stalled Clemson’s offense:

“I think we were angry and really motivated ourselves with their success at the defensive end to be as good as a defensive team as them. We’ve gotten better and we’re getting closer so I think that was it more than anything. We’ve haven’t changed and it’s for new guys learning to take pride in the defense. Most of these guys haven’t even thought about what field goal percentage was before they got here.”


Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson:


On showing who wanted to be tougher:

“I think from the start of the game we just tried to play our style of game, play as hard as we can, and execute the best we could, and I think we did that tonight.”


On having fun on the court:

“It’s a lot of fun. We have a very unselfish team. When somebody gives their shot up to make a play for somebody else, it usually comes back around, and they end up being on the other end of that. We just have to keep being unselfish, keep playing hard, and just having fun.”


On the apparent ease of the victory:

“No, it definitely wasn’t easy. A lot of preparation went into the game. The coaches did a really good job preparing us with the scouting report. Clemson is a very good team, obviously they were tied with us. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw them somewhere down the line.”


On Josh Newkirk’s development as a player:

“I think Josh is getting better every day. Obviously coming in we knew he could score and he’s super athletic. You saw on that loose ball on the pass in to Talib—just his speed. I think on the defensive end it’s definitely coming to him. As we keep going throughout the season he’s going to get better and better and become one of our best defenders.”


On overcoming Clemson’s tough defense:

“We just had to get back to executing. Our offense comes when we make stops on the defensive end. I think we played pretty solid defense tonight and that led to easier buckets on the offensive end, but they’re definitely a really good defensive team.”


On the Zoo wearing headbands for injured Durand Johnson:

“We know Durand is the energy guy on our team. He’s probably the funniest guy on the team, too. Just seeing him over there on the bench, there’s definitely that extra motivation. What the Zoo did tonight, it was really special to see everybody come together and support Durand. I think Durand, he’s going to do just fine in his rehab and he’s going to be back strong.”


Quoting Pitt forward Chris Jones:


On his contribution tonight:

“I was just trying to go out there and play hard, bring energy to my team, and just do anything Coach (Dixon) asked me to do.”


Quoting Pitt forward Talib Zanna:


On the motivation of Saturday’s Syracuse loss:

“We were kind of mad about the loss we had against Syracuse, so we’re just trying to take it from there. It was a really big motivation. We were just trying to take second place in the ACC.”


On the team’s unselfish play setting him up for success:

“James (Robinson) and Lamar (Patterson) did a good job finding me. We executed plays and I was just wide open. They helped in taking the rush, so I was just rolling to get to the basket.”


On avoiding overlooking Maryland with Duke looming:

“We just want to go out there and play as a team. We don’t think about who we’re playing. I know Duke has a lot history behind them. We don’t think about that. We just try to focus on our team and us, so that’s all that matters.”


Quoting Clemson head coach Brad Brownell


Opening Statement:

“Congratulations to Pitt. I thought they played very well. I am certainly disappointed with our effort tonight. We didn’t play to a very good standard. Certainly Pitt had something to do with that but they had great energy. As we know, they are a terrific passing team. They make plays out of nowhere every once in a while. You guard them for 25 seconds and at the end of a shot clock someone will make a great read on a pass and they will be laying it in. The defense isn’t as bad as it looks. It is just that they are so good at passing the ball. It is demoralizing to play defense for 30 seconds and then give up a lay-up. That happened several times but we just didn’t respond tonight. It was really our first time in a very difficult environment and I think our guys played like a young team that looked a little nervous. In the first half we probably gave them six points by just handing them the ball. I give credit to Pitt. I thought they played very well with a big lead.”


On guarding Pitt:

“We didn’t guard them well. There were possessions where we guarded them well and then they would make a great play with a pass at the end of the shot clock. It was usually of a ball screen. They are very good at it. They have good spacing. They have elite passing with [James] Robinson and [Lamar] Patterson. You don’t see many guys that pass the ball as well and play the game with such poise.”


On losing KJ McDaniels to foul trouble:

“It throws him out of a rhythm. He is clearly our best player and our most dangerous player on offense. It just threw him out of rhythm. We sat him for a while and we were able to hang close for a little bit.  All of a sudden I had to put him back in the game. He does alright that way but he has had a couple games where he’s ended up like that and he hasn’t played as well. He’s an aggressive guy and sometimes when he has a foul or two he doesn’t play as well.”


On whether Pitt was the toughest defense they have faced so far this season:

“Florida State was great too. They are both great. We try to play more like Pitt does in terms of more position. I would say Florida State is a bit more aggressive trying to steal the ball. Pitt is a very good, smart, sound-position team. They cover for each other really well.”


On Pitt forward Lamar Patterson:

“I love his game because he is a basketball player. He has good size and he does everything. He shoots, passes, makes other players better and he can defend. He is a playmaker at the end of a shot clock. They have multiple playmakers at the end of shot clocks. That separates teams when multiple guys can make plays. He played very unselfishly tonight. He got his 13 points, six assists and let the game come to him. He plays the game so smooth and plays like a fifth year guy.”

Post-Game Quotesheet

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