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Post Game Quotesheet




Jan. 31, 2010

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POST-GAME QUOTESHEET

No. 17 Pitt at South Florida, Sun Dome, January 31, 2010

South Florida 70, No. 17 Pitt 61

 

Quoting PITT Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening Statement...

Congratulations to South Florida. It was a good win for them, they deserve to win and obviously a couple of things stand out. You look at the numbers and simply put we didn't get it done so congratulations to them and the win. We need to play better. We shoot 47 percent we turned over 10 times but yet I didn't think our offense was as good as it needed to be. Then defensively, we just didn't get it done and obviously Jones hurt us and the free throws hurt us. Numbers don't lie. When you score more buckets, but you get beat, that's disappointing. We need to rebound better. We need to defend better and we need to execute better, but again congratulations to them. They are a good team. They played well and they made the plays to win.

 

On the starting lineup...

Jermaine was never set to play. He was going to see how it felt today and go from there. Last night I didn't think he was going to be playing. We were just going by what he had felt yesterday. I didn't think he would be practicing yesterday and he just felt he couldn't go. I really feel for him and how he's going to deal with his senior year. We need to get him ready for this stretch run here.

 

On his impressions of Jones...

We he's obviously a good player. He made some threes and finished a couple of tough shots. The main thing we said was that we didn't want to foul him, but then he had 17 free throw attempts. That's what got him going.  He was 4-for-11 in the first half, so we felt pretty good about some of the shots he had taken and the situation we put him in. He got free throws and then he felt better about himself. That's what you have to do. We didn't do what we had set out to do, which was keep him off the line. 

Transition baskets were the other thing that we didn't want to give him any. We thought we did a pretty good job in that regard as far as the transition buckets, so our goal was to keep him off the free throw line.

 

On Gilbert Brown...

He had some good drives and he made some shots and played well. We need to get all-around performances from a lot of our guys. He did some good things and he's got some things he can work on too, but he shot it well which is the biggest thing. He got some drives to the basket and we got some corrals for him some spacing, but we got nine offensive rebounds. We have got to get more on that. Then we miss 26 shots so, we've got to get better all-around play from all of our guys.

 

On how much that may have deflated the team...

We were down six, we lose by nine and we had plenty of opportunities. You don't want to get a technical. It's my first of the year, I've had very few in my career and I think it didn't help us."

 

On Big East exposure for the Bulls...

"Well they are experienced now. You have Jones who started for three years. You have Howard who is a fifth year guy, a prep school guy, an older kid. Mercer is a fifth year guy. I mean just speaking through experience really, and they've all played a lot of minutes too. That's one thing I've seen here is that guys have played so many minutes over their career. Then when you have guards like that you're talking about, transfers, older guys and I think it usually points to that so, that was a part of their development.

 

On the second half...

I don't know what it was, we had seven fouls in five minutes and you know we can't foul. It was one of our strengths. You look at the numbers and we've been a low foul team and we get to the free throw line much more than our opponents. Today that was not the case and that's why we lost.  We have a track record of that and it's what we do and we didn't do it today.

.

Quoting USF Head Coach Stan Heath

On the win...


That's a big, big win. That's a really good basketball team we faced. I thought before the game in order for us to have a chance we'd have to rebound well and not turn it over very much. We squeaked by in both of those areas. The other thing I felt was it was going to be a possession by possession game. Everything has got value to it and you've got to execute. You've got to defend them and fortunately I think our guys are growing and getting tougher. The Providence game turned out to be very inspirational for us and it's continued to help us get momentum. Now we've just got to stay humble and stay hungry.

 

On how proud of his team he is...

I'm extremely proud of them. We hadn't really been in these positions before so it's a little bit of new territory for us. That's what you want as a coach, your team to come together, to buy in, to believe, to fight all of those things are happening for us right now. It's still a long way to go and we've got a big road swing in front of us that's not going to be easy. We've made tremendous growth over the last few weeks.

 

On the importance of winning their third straight conference game...

It's extremely, extremely important. A week and a half ago we were trying to get into the race; we're in the race right now. We've still got a chance to win more games and play beyond just the regular season, which we haven't done in a long, long time. So there is a lot in front of us but we can't bypass the important things like preparing and working and obviously staying very hungry towards getting these kinds of games.

 

On how well the team has shot free-throws in end-game situations...

We really are shooting them well late. I thought Jarrid's were very big and Dominique hit quite a few down the stretch too. It's definitely one of those categories where you have to shoot a good percentage or make your big ones down the stretch. We've worked hard in that area and I think guys really know the importance of it and they know they're going to be in that situation. From Dominique's first year to where he is now, he is a totally different free throw shooter late in the game.

 

On the role of Dominique Jones on the team...

It's pretty special. I've never had a guy that's elevated his game so much and really carried a big portion of the team. A few weeks ago he said some things and the message to me was how important it was to win. It's not about scoring. He knows he needs to do that to win but he also knows he needs to rebound, defend and get assists. To be a guy that every single time you go out in a game you've got that "X" on your back and you're still able to produce like he does, shows you what kind of player this guy is. Our entire team deserves credit for accepting the fact that he is the guy, and that he gets the ball or that we run our offense through him.

 

On the teams poise against Pitt...

Every situation was a little bit different. Sometimes it was just getting defensive stops and sometimes it was having a little more patience offensively. I remember a sequence during the game where we had back-to-back turnovers between Dominique and Chris and I said to those guys, "Look, every time you drive in there, they collapse and there are some guys open." Then the next couple plays they made the adjustment and made the easy pass. I think Toarlyn (Fitzpatrick) got one shot blocked but then the next play Chris got a layup, so they're doing a good job of adjusting to what's happening on the court whether it is offensively or defensively. If we're having a hard time with ball screens, we may do something a little bit different. We don't like to play a lot of zone but we're stealing possessions in our 2-3 (zone) right now. In the past we used to fight that. Guys would say, "Just play man (defense)," but we know that there are times we need to do different things just to help our team win.

 

On losing Gilchrist and now being 14-7...

That was a huge setback losing him [Gilchrist] because he was a big part of everything that we were doing and we still miss him. A guy like him would take some pressure off Dominique and I think he can be even more effective in different ways. Would I have taken it? Probably,  but I am still one of those guys that feels like every time we take the floor that we have a chance to win and we got to find a way to win. I am more pleased at the fact that the guys have rallied together. Coaches coach, but players make plays out there on the court. This guy right here is making a lot of plays out here on the court but so are the other guys.

 

On if he looks at the next three road games like the acid test for the new USF...

I don't. I used to walk into the Sun Dome and I would see those banners up there and I would say, "We have to play those guys." At this point I don't even look at it. I know we have Georgetown next and we are going to be on a little road trip, but it's just Georgetown looming right in front of us. Tonight I'll watch film, and tomorrow I'll watch film; it's just all Georgetown right now.

 

On if he expects Gus back for Georgetown...

Last week I thought so, but after this week I think he needs some practice time. He was running up some stairs today and he looked good. He was running around doing some sprints and he looked pretty good. I feel really good about Marquette. Georgetown I think he is just going to need some practice time. We are going to have to be smart when he comes back and ease him in to what we are doing. It just can't go back to how we were, but eventually he will be a guy that is very effective out there.

 

On how they you get a new chemistry since Gilchrist has been out...

Toarlyn will probably not play as many minutes, but Toarlyn is playing really well out there. Jarrid will get a little bit more of a blow, but I think that will be good because Alex has come along really well. Our front line guys will probably be stronger and fresher. In this league I think you have to have bodies. I think with the grind and the wear and tear of the year you have to have guys. My goal is when you have eight and nine guys is to play at a high intensity level. Sometimes when you are playing 40-45 minutes you are trying to catch a few possessions here and there where you can catch your breath. By getting him back I think that will eliminate that with our front line. We will be a better rebounding team and that will open up the floor. Not only is Gus a good player but he is our leading three point shooter. It's hard to get one of those right now.

 

On if he was concerned about the fouls at the end of the game...

We switched to a zone play for a few possessions and we tried to rearrange some match ups, those guys were attacking us so much and the guys got charged with the fouls, but I do have the confidence in these guys. Chris is pretty smart with playing with fouls and he [Jones] is getting a lot better. The Louisville game he [Jones] struggled a little bit with that but he is getting a lot better now. I feel like they know how to pick and choose when to go after somebody and when to be smart.

I wouldn't say the whole game because they had some spurts against us as well. But I thought the game was played at a comfortable pace for us and probably a comfortable pace for them as well. But I did think that we got out to the early lead and we stayed in front and so we were able to kind of play the way we wanted to play.


Quoting USF junior guard Dominique Jones

On making moves the past few games...

I feel like this three game winning streak that we are on is elevating our game even in practice. We are practicing harder, I think we are coming more together, everybody is just accepting their role, and I think that's what winning does to you. It makes you accept the things you usually worry about, and you are like, "ok we are winning" and that's the only thing that matters.

 

About rallying the troops...

I feel like I was the leader out there, but I feel like they did a good job of responding. They played hard defense and then they made layups. Everyone just played hard together, and that's how we should play.

 

On believing in the system...

Like I said before, that is what winning does to you. All the doubts that you have, like is this working or is that going to work, just erases out of your mind when you are winning, because obviously the formula is working.

 

On sustaining the progress...

We just have to keep getting better. We also have to understand the scouting report and we have to understand our game plan and just play hard.

 

On being on a roll...

I feel like I am taking advantage of what they are giving me. It feels good, but we still have a lot more wins to get and we still have goals we haven't achieved yet.

 

Quoting USF senior guard Chris Howard

On the momentum the team has...

We just focus, but at the same time, after we win games like this we always say, be humble but be hungry. And that's just the main mindset in the locker room right now. A lot of teams, they say, "We can't wait to play a certain amount of teams in this league." And we are one of the teams on that list so we are just going out hungry, trying to prove people wrong.

 

On how Dominique is playing right now...

He's just doing what he does. Being a scorer is something he can do. When he gets the ball in transition, he finds teammates. He's been a great leader. You guys don't see what happens outside of the game, guys are in here 10, 11 o'clock at night. He's getting guys in here to get up to 200, 300 shots. He's just carrying the load, maybe the LeBron or the Kobe of this team. The guy's creating offense, he's scoring, he's defending. He's being a leader on and off the floor. That just speaks high value on how much he has grown over time.

 

On how much confidence the team gets from Dominique...

Well, he's a strange guy. He keeps it straightforward, so you know his demands and what he wants from his teammates. So as a team, we take it and feed off of him. If he's positive, up going, this team is positive and up going. We're going to go as far as he goes. The way he's playing, is lifting us up.

 

On what the team did special to defend Gibbs...

Well he's a great player and I think he's averaging 17, 18 points this year in conference. To me, probably the Big East's most improved player. They put me on him for a little bit, then at times Anthony Crater for speed. We hassled him, not letting him get as many catches. We just tried to keep him off the foul line where he has created a lot of problems. I think he's on a streak where he's making 40 something in a row, Coach was telling us. So we tried to keep him off the line, just playing him straight up is the key.

 

On what USF is capable of doing this year...

Not to look too far ahead, this team is focusing on Georgetown right now. And if we can get that win, we'll move on to the next game. I don't want to look past Georgetown. I don't want to talk about it, whether we play DePaul or anybody else down the line. It's about Georgetown right now, next week, because that's the next game on hand.