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Jan. 31, 2009

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Notre Dame at Pitt, Petersen Events Center, January 31, 2009


Quoting Pitt’s Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening Comments:


“This was a great game for our guys. We came out with a game plan that Notre Dame had an answer for, but I thought we made some adjustments and kept battling and were able to come out with a win. I tell our guys all the time that these games are a marathon, not a sprint. No matter what the score is, you can’t panic.  When we got into half time, we renewed our focus defensively and were able to take away some of their outside shooting. That really carried us the rest of the way.”


On Pitt’s defensive adjustment:


“We were focusing a lot on Luke Harangody in the post to start the game. He’s the reigning conference player of the year, so he commands a lot of defensive attention. Notre Dame did a great job of recognizing what we were doing and running their offense on the perimeter. In the second half we gave them more touches inside and just tried to concentrate on running with their guards.”


On DeJuan Blair’s 23 points and 22 rebounds:


“I thought coming into today that DeJuan would have a chance for a big game if we could keep him on the floor.  Notre Dame’s line-up is really four perimeter players, leaving just Blair and [Luke] Harangody in the paint to battle it out. When you have two players with their talent levels, that situation is going to lead to big games for both of them, like it did today.”


On Pitt’s bench play:


“I think our bench players are really what separate us from a lot of teams in this league. Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker both had very good games today, and they both want to work hard and get better, too. Watching our young guys improve is what makes coming to practice everyday so much fun. Gilbert Brown’s had some great games, Gary McGhee and Nasir Robinson both give us great minutes when they’re in the game. They know their roles are important and they’re always trying to improve.”


Quoting Pitt’s Levance Fields


On Pitt’s defense in the second half:


“I was the man that was supposed to double team Luke Harangody every time he caught the ball. In the second half, we switched off of that, and left DeJuan [Blair] to handle him one-on-one. We just focused on guarding our guys on the perimeter and taking away their outside shots.”


On the play of Ashton Gibbs:


“It was a good feeling to be out with him today. He’s such a good shooter who’s learning how to be more aggressive with his shot. You saw today how when he picks his spots, he can really get going and stay in the game as a big asset to the team.”


Quoting Pitt’s DeJuan Blair


On his play:


“It wasn’t anything special today or anything different than what I usually do. I just try to let the game come to me and make sure I’m going hard after rebounds. My teammates did a great job getting me the ball in good position to score.”


On facing Luke Harangody:


“He’s a very good player. He’s hard to guard because he’s so quick on his feet. You think you have him guarded well and he’s able to shoot that little fade away that’s his bread and butter move.  It was a good challenge for me to go up against a guy with his talent level.”


Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs


On his play:


“I came out just wanting to take what the defense gave me. They were in a zone, so that led to some nice open looks from the perimeter. I was able to get the ball in a good position to shoot and just kind of found a rhythm.  It was great getting to play with Levance Fields because he’s a pass first point guard who really knows how to set his teammates up.”


Quoting Pitt’s Jermaine Dixon


On his play:


“This is the kind of game that suits my talents. I like running a lot and trying to score in transition. I thought I could make an impact today, especially after getting off to a slow start in the first half. I was glad I was able to make some plays and contribute down the stretch.”


Quoting Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey


Opening statement:


“We came out and had a great start, we had the momentum going. We were happy with our first half. In the second half, we struggled. What hurt us was Pitt’s offensive rebounding.  They were able to get the rebounds and the second chance baskets.  It’s disappointing, but we were in a good offensive rhythm.  When we’re in that rhythm in the first half and struggling in the second half, when we’re on the road in a tough place to win, it’s hard to overcome.”


On Pitt’s defense:


“I thought Pitt’s defense was more intense in the second half.  Early on, we were running with the ball. That’s the silver lining. Pitt came out in the second half and came after us.  Their tough bodies and athleticism really go to us.”


“Something that Pitt does well is their ability to clamp the post.  Pitt was doing that well in the first half, which is why Luke Zeller was getting so many great looks from the three point range.  Pitt adjusted at half and we hardly got any clean looks.”


On Notre Dame’s five Big East losses:


“There’s a lot of basketball left to be played.  If we look at it, we really only have one bad loss and that was to St. John’s.  There are some things that we can do better.  We have Cincinnati coming us and if we rebound the way we did today, then we’ll lose that game too.  But that’s something we’ll address so it doesn’t happen.  We’re just trying to get a league win, taking one game at a time and once we get one then we’ll get another.  We haven’t been able to sit in the locker room after a game and enjoy ourselves since Seton Hall. It hangs and wears on us.”


Quoting Notre Dame’s Zach Hillesland


On Notre Dame’s losses:


“We’re halfway through Big East play.  We’re just going to take it one game at a time and try and focus on getting back on the winning track. We have positive things that come from every game, we just need to put all of those things together for one game and then another in order to get this turned around.”


On the loss to Pitt:


“They got a lot of put backs and the second chance baskets.  They stepped up and rebounded in the second half.  This is a tough team to play in a tough atmosphere to win.  We did a lot of good things in the first half and right off the start in the second half, we gave up a few turnovers and they got to us and that’s when Pitt took over.  If we would have given the same amount of effort the whole game, then we could have come close to a win.”

Post-Game Quotesheet

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