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Jan. 28, 2013

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Pitt at No. 12 Louisville, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2013

No. 12 Louisville 64, Pitt 61

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon 

(Opening statement)

“Well, obviously a couple things stand out, the free throw line, the turnovers, especially in the first half. Obviously it was a close game, went their way. They made their free throws, we didn't. We can kind of sum it up that way. Tough loss for us, but I felt that we've played better. We have been playing better, but tonight we didn't. So we ended up where we're at. But, we outrebounded them. I thought we played hard, but our execution was just not where we needed it to be both offensively and defensively. Come up short and take blame for that. As I told the players afterwards, we got to be better here come forward. Get ready for Saturday. Practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and become a better team. I think we're a better team than what we played tonight and we've been playing better basketball than this. So give them credit, give Louisville credit. They knocked down their free throws down the stretch. They got to the line, they beat us from the free throw line and that's what we didn't want to have happen. We seemed to be in foul trouble and we didn't want that to be the case.” 

(On opponents getting open shots underneath the basket)

“The kid did a good job, (Gorgui) Dieng, and we don't use it a lot but it wasn't effective so we got out of it. But we did give up a lot of lay ups, transition from the first half, I think, then obviously there's a stretch there where they got some in the second half against the zone. Give them credit. We knew they would do that. We saw them do it last game against Syracuse, play in the zone, so we knew they'd do that but we just didn't get to the spots we needed to get to. So again that's my fault for not getting it across to our guys, what they were looking for.”

 (On getting points off turnovers)

“I think I mentioned that too, as well, it stood out. We're a low turnover team. So when you don't do things that you normally do well, it changes the game for you and that's one of those things. We're one of the lowest turnover teams in the country. We got some early and turned into transition baskets. So that dug a hole for us. We responded back and kept battling and played hard and made plays and still had opportunities but, obviously the foul shots caught up to us in the end.”

(On chasing down rebounds after missed foul shots)

“Yeah, Steven (Adams) is shooting the ball well from the free throw line in practice. We chart them, keep track of them. He and (Trey) Zeigler have been showing improvement, getting better, so it is obviously standing out with their numbers tonight. Steven is a good shooter in practice; he is just not knocking them down in games. We had seen improvement but we didn’t see it tonight and we’re working hard on it, as we all are, but we didn’t get it done tonight.”

(On missing an opportunity to beat Louisville with two rotation guys out) 

“We came in, they were at 4-3, and we were at 5-3, so we knew very well where they stood. We knew that (Kevin) Ware didn’t play much, so that was something we were aware of. Their guards can play, but we need to get their guards in foul trouble and we never did. I felt that was a big part of it. We never seemed to get in that situation. We had our chances, but whoever they had out there, we knew was going to play hard and play well and we just didn’t get it done.”

(On whether Louisville did anything differently offensively on the screen and rolls) 

“No. They set a lot of them constantly. They had a few moving screens by (Gorgui) Dieng that got called. I think it was the same thing, and ran into the same sets. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. I thought our zone would be more effective. It was not, so we played more man to man. They shot 45 percent, but a lot of those were the transition baskets. Our defense wasn’t near what it should be. Our offense isn’t where it should be, and we only lost by three. It was a close game and we make a couple of free throws and we may feel differently about it.

(One whether there was a communication breakdown on the high screen) 

“There was no communication breakdown; we just didn’t get it done. We knew exactly what we had to do and we practiced against it. Our reactions weren’t good enough, and he did a good job. Give him credit, (Gorgui) Dieng played well and we saw him do the same thing against Syracuse. We gave up a lot of lay ups, and to focus on just those would be missing a few things. I didn’t think we got enough pressure on the passer, and I think that was a big part of it as well. That is often overlooked, but it is something we focus on here to try to get more steals and deflections. We didn’t do that, and it’s why we didn’t get as many turnovers as we have been forcing.”

(On what was missing from his zone tonight) 

“Ball pressure, as I just said … making it tougher for the passer; whether that be their big or their small. We need to do a better job of rebounding out of the zone too. They got a lot of second chance opportunities. We had to play defense time and time again, and they also got 15 offensive rebounds. We can’t be in that situation. That is just not getting it done, it’s not communication. It’s just not getting it done, simply put. We are in that situation because we let it happen too many times.

(On Louisville’s dunks and layups) 

“I don’t know how we go through all of them, but the transition ones were the ones that bothered us that were from turnovers – obviously that was in the first half.  We didn’t get it done. Again, they’re a team that thrives off of getting to the basket … we needed to take more charges – I thought that was something, that on their drives we needed to do. And as I said earlier, ball pressure.  It’s a three-point game, you can’t go back and talk about one play. We’re not a one play team - you’ve got to do things for 40 minutes.  And we just didn’t. We didn’t do things for 40 minutes. We didn’t play well. I don’t think we played well at any point in the game – any stretch. We needed some shots. With that said, as I told our guys we were down six at halftime and I thought we played very poorly. We’re still down six and had an opportunity and obviously had it down to two and we just needed to make some plays, make some free throws. Give them credit, they made theirs, they were 10 for 11 in the second half from the free throw line, we were 2 for 6.

(On whether he was worried about Durand Johnson turning over the ball) 

“I thought Cameron (Wright)’s played well, I think that was part of it. Durand played fewer minutes obviously. I thought Cameron’s been playing well, I thought he did a good job. That’s what we’re looking at, I thought he was a little bit better against it. Our rotation got a little bit messed up with James (Robinson) in foul trouble, Dante was in foul trouble. I thought that was part of it, our rotation wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be.”

Quoting Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino 

(Opening statement)

“What we tried to talk about going into this game is, ‘Look, guys. We may be a running finesse team, but the BIG EAST is not going to change our style with half the league to accommodate our running game. So we’ve got to be ready to battle it out on the backboard and one of the reasons why we’re not rebounding well – now, our bigs didn’t do a good job of blocking out tonight – but because our guards are so small and we’re pressuring the 3, they don’t come back to rebound. At halftime, four of our guys didn’t have a defensive rebound. Only Gorgui (Dieng) did. You have to guard the 3, but then you got to get back and help the big guy, so we’re going to work. We played a really good game tonight, we made our free throws at the end, we did a lot of good things, and then we’re going to work on blocking out a little bit better and using our rear ends a lot better than we’re doing. But Gorgui played a terrific game, although the guys really looked for each other, we did a lot of good things.” 

(On what the team’s rebounding comes down to)

“(Rebounding) very simple, elementary play is you take your rear end – we show Kenneth Faried tapes all the time – and on every defensive rebound, he squats, hits the guy, locate the ball, and go chase it. I mean, we’re standing here and what happens is the guy pushes you in the back so now you’re underneath the rim. Well, if you – Russ hit the guy one time and he got an over-the-back call. We’re not getting the over-the-back call because we’re not hitting him. So it’s very minor and we’re going to continue to work on it.” 

(On the team’s lineups during the game)

“It was scary. When Dark Slime (Michael Baffour) goes in the game, it’s scary.”

(On the status of Wayne Blackshear and the team’s performance) 

“He hurt it yesterday. (I thought) he’ll be fine the next day, I’ll let him ice it down. I thought it was like (the equivalent of) a mild sprained ankle, but it was his shooting arm. But that was a big-time gutsy win from a team playing outstanding basketball right now. (Pittsburgh) just came out beating a team by almost 50 or 40 points and beat the heck out of Georgetown at Georgetown and they were playing really good ball, so I loved the way we defended tonight. We did a lot of good things.”

(On Peyton Siva’s performance) 

“I thought he was a major key in the game. They couldn’t turn us over because of that young man. He was a floor leader the whole way.”

(On Tim Henderson’s performance) 

“He was just nervous; he’s a pretty good basketball player. He was really, really nervous. He messed up a couple times defensively and he wouldn’t take the shot. I told him, ‘Come on man, you’re not a freshman, you’re an upperclassman.”

(On starting Russ Smith) 

“Did you see that Wayne Blackshear is out? It was between him (Russ) and Dark Slime (Michael Baffour).”

(On staying with the press all game) 

“They can play another game right now. They’re in great shape, there’s no body fat on them. We gave them rest right before the timeouts we got them out of the game. I worry more about the front court than I do the back court.”

(On the made free throws by the front court)

“Very much so, and it works both way sometimes and we made it and they missed them early in the game and that was the reason we got the lead. We didn’t block out twice on a guy who is shooting 35 percent. But they’re a very good basketball team Pittsburgh. Like I said earlier in the year, you’re going to have your peaks and valleys. You look at the schedule and sometimes you can kind of guess what’s going to happen. But that being said, I felt like going into this stretch, Pitt and Marquette, those two teams were playing the best basketball in the BIG EAST. But Syracuse, Cincinnati, and now Villanova is playing great. The only teams not playing well at the bottom have some injuries. St. John’s and Rutgers are as good as every team at the top. It’s the BIG EAST, that’s what it’s all about and, until two years come, we’re going to have a hell of a conference. Unfortunately, pigskin broke us all up.” 

(On Kevin Ware)

 “I’m really not worried about that right now.  He’s suspended indefinitely.  As long as we have Logan (Baumann), Jordan (Bond), and Slime (Michael Baffour), we are in good shape.  We’re in good shape with those guys.” 

(On Russ Smith’s eagerness to substitute back into the game)

“Russ (Smith) wanted to get back into the game and I wanted to get him out.  The only bad thing I can say about our basketball team is you can’t trust Russ and Peyton (Siva).  You can’t trust them not fouling, like when Russ went for the reach from behind with one foul.  You know that is the only thing bad about those two guards.  They’re playing terrific, but I can’t trust them at all.  I honestly can tell you that that foul on Peyton there, number four, I ran it back 15 times and I cannot find a foul.  I can’t find a foul.  I think the ref, who is one of the best in the game, knows it, but he can’t take it back.” 

(On Peyton Siva’s play)

“He got knocked down quite a bit.  He takes his lumps and goes back out.  If you measure Peyton by his stat sheet, you know he has the ball in his hands all the time. Davidson said that Louisville’s defense is really, really, good, but that’s not what wears us out.  It’s all the pick and rolls we have to guard.  So, when you ask that question, it’s not only the pressing.  But, do you know how hard it is to keep running pick and rolls back and forth, and they’re bumping you and they’re after you and, “Run it again!” I’m yelling, “Run it again!”  The poor kid doesn’t get a break.  So you have to be in tremendous physical shape to do what he does.”

(On if Peyton Siva has been running the pick and roll differently the past few games) 

“They blitz and sometimes the other teams will “string,” where they play back and step up as he comes off, and that’s where lack of size hurts you.  I keep telling Peyton that he has to trust that guy in corner is going to be there.  The little kid from Missouri does a great job of throwing a hook pass to the corner.  You’ve got to trust that the guy is going to be there when they shut down inside.  They take the corner man and they shut down the inside and they help.  So we’ve been working on that as well.  This was a great win for us.  We need it.  Obviously you don’t want to lose at home, but we have a big game coming up against Marquette, whose playing great basketball.  It will be another barn burner just like this one.”

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