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Feb. 2, 2013

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No. 6 Syracuse at Pitt, February 2, 2013, Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Pitt 65, No. 6 Syracuse 55

Quoting Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon 

Opening Statement:

“We are really excited about the rebounding, obviously.  I thought we attacked the zone really well and we all know how good their defense is.  I thought we did a great job of getting the ball to the right guys, running our sets and our motion movement.  We did a great job on the glass and that’s what we wanted to do.  I told them [our guys], we had to out-rebound them by 15, and we did out-rebound them by 15.  10 guys, I think this team is unique and I think the strength is in playing by 10.  It’s not normal but I think it’s what is best for us.  Obviously, can’t say enough about how good they are.  Their guards are some of the best in the country.  We did a good job guarding them.” 

On if you were you happy with how you were able to exploit their lack of depth?

“They never play a lot of guys, coach (Boeheim) never does that.  That is what they have always done.  We tried to get their guards in foul trouble.  Our strength is in our 10.  We had 10 guys score and nine got rebounds.  It says a lot.  10 guys is the strength of this team, all of them played well.  I think the improvement of Cameron Wright and Trey Zeigler is the key to our success.” 

On if there were points earlier in the season if you thought playing 10 guys was too many:

“Yeah there was, but now I’m comfortable with it.  I think it’s the strength of the team.  I thought it was key again today.  We tend to get in some foul trouble with our guards and so we have to have guys ready to go.” 

On what does it do for the rest of the team when guys like Cameron Wright and Durand Johnson knock down shots?

“The guys really like each other.  They like to see these other guys come in and make plays and they have confidence in each other.  Playing 10 guys is not normal; we have been eight or nine in the past.  But, James Robinson and Tray Woodall sometimes are in foul trouble and I like having that bigger guard in there with Trey Zeigler.  They have improved.  Zeigler is a new guy, Durand is a new guy, Steve [Adams] is a new guy, Cameron battled through a lot of things and he is a far better player right now.” 

On how much does the depth help with a short turn-around in the schedule?

“We’ll see.  I don’t think we played up to our standards on Monday.  It is unique that we have had so many of these ‘quick turn-arounds’ and we just have to be ready.  We have to focus on Seton Hall.  Our crowd was terrific and we can’t take it for granite.  What an atmosphere, once again and now we need them on Monday night at 9:00.  We have to come out and play Monday with the same aggressiveness, but take care of the ball a little better.” 

On how the students of the Oakland Zoo were sleeping in line at the Petersen Events Center:

“The Zoo has been unbelievable; it just keeps getting bigger and better.  It says a lot and they do so many other things like charity work.  The spirit of this school has been tremendous and I think they have been a big part of it.  We are just thankful for the support they have been giving us all the way through.  Coach Regan and I ran down and gave the Zoo some pizza last night; it was fun to see those guys.  They were all dressed up and they had their camp outfits on.  It was fun and think they had a fun time tonight. ” 

Quoting Pitt guard Tray Woodall:

On being the only Panther in double figures:

“We always talk about the strength of our team being in numbers.  We have great depth and a lot of these guys, Cam (Wright), Trey (Zeigler), and Dante (Taylor) are all ready when their number is called.  Today everyone stepped up big and we came away with a great one.” 

On Syracuse’s big 3 (Triche, Carter-Williams, Fair) scoring all but eight of their points:

“We had to guard everybody, but those guys are definitely tough players to guard.  Our guys stepped up to the challenge tonight though.  (C.J.) Fair is the only one that we thought went off on us, but we tried to make those other guys take tough shots. It was definitely a lot more than just guarding three guys though.  They have those big, athletic guys who like to offensive rebound.” 

On the Zoo sleeping over at the Pete the night before:

“We’re all happy to be a part of this community.  We feed off of the fan’s energy today and were ecstatic last night knowing that they were there sleeping in the gym.  I think a lot of our guys wanted to sleep in the gym also.  It’s great to see everybody so enthusiastic and when we saw them ready to go (the Oakland Zoo), we have no choice but to get up for games like this.  We saw the dedication from our fans, waking up at 6 a.m. in the morning, eating breakfast in the lobby, so we want to thank the zoo, the whole fan base and the community for showing up tonight.” 

Quoting Pitt forward Lamar Patterson:

On if the team took a step forward with this win:

“Definitely.  We beat a real good team today and we just continued to fight the whole game.” 

On Pitt’s 19 assists compared to only 5 assists for Syracuse:

“We just wanted to keep swinging the ball and make the zone move, get an inside touch.  It’s hard to guard when the ball’s moving, so just keep moving with the ball, attack the gap and just take what they we’re giving us.” 

On the underclassmen taking in the atmosphere and getting a win against a top-10 opponent:

“It just gave them a real feel for how Pitt is.  We don’t lose games at home, I know we lost some games here recently, but this is why we don’t lose games here and this is just something to build off of.” 

Quoting Pitt guard Cameron Wright:

On his big 3-pointer to beat the shot clock: 

“I was screaming at J.J. (Moore) because he had it at the top of the key, but I definitely wanted the shot, felt like I could hit it and J.J. gave me the opportunity, and I knocked it down.”

On his confidence regarding getting selected to shoot the free throws in place of Steven Adams: 

“Well it’s for entire game, it’s not just me that’s confident, it’s our entire team that’s confident.  Every time we step on the court individually, you have to be confident to play this game and that’s just another thing about our team, we’re just extremely confident.”

On the Zoo sleeping over in the Pete the night before: 

“The fan support is just amazing here at Pittsburgh.”

Quoting Pitt guard Trey Zeigler: 

On defending Syracuse’s tough guards:

“We just tried to keep them in check, they have some really good guards.  They play a lot of ball screens so we were fighting over them and trying to make them take tough shots.” 

On his recent hot-streak shooting the ball:

“Just confidence.  I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now and feeding off of it.  Being out there, and playing defense, because it all starts on the defensive end of the floor.” 

Quoting Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim

Opening statement: 

“Defensively I thought we really played as well as we’ve played all year. I thought the difference in the second half was (Pitt) getting on the boards and they outrebounded us by 15. They’re a tremendous defensive team. We know that we’re going to have trouble scoring against them. I thought we had some opportunities, but we missed some shots. We had some opportunities and didn’t finish. But really, I think the story was on the glass in the second half. I think they’re the best rebounding team in the league, in my mind, and they took advantage of that in the second half. That was really the difference in the game.”

On his impression of Pitt as a team: 

“I think they’re a really good team, I thought all year long they were. I saw them earlier in the year and I thought they’d be leading the league right now. I think they’ve got a really good team. They’re good defensively and they’re good offensively. They’ve got good inside guys. They’re obviously a good defensive team. I think they’ll be difficult to beat the rest of the way. I’d be surprised if they lose many games. I like their team and I think it’s a very, very good team. They’re the best team that we’ve played, without any question. It’s not even close.”

On whether or not depth played a role in today’s game: 

“They have good depth. I still think seven or eight guys are enough. Over the course of a four-game tournament or something like that, then that’s when depth is more of a factor. When your games are spaced out I don’t think it’s as big of a factor, but they have good depth. They have good players. They have veteran guys and when you look at their team, they’ve got a couple young guys. They’ve got a lot of guys that have been through this league. They’ve played a lot of games in this league. Pittsburgh’s a very good team.”

Quoting Syracuse guard Brandon Triche: 

On if the atmosphere bothered him and his team:

“Being here four years, nothing can really bother me. I think it was just more them playing tough defense more than anything (else).” 

On if Pitt’s depth played a factor:

“It’s tough because they just keep rotating in guys with energy and just don’t let up. With us only playing seven guys, we were playing nine guys, so our depth was good and there was no let-off. With them rotating and playing tough defense, it kind of messed us up today.” 

On if fatigue was a factor:

“No, I think it was just not making plays for each other. It was just more apparent today. Struggling on offense and knowing that we’re struggling on offense, only averaging 55 points or so the last couple games. Who’s going to score? We just have to continue to make plays for each other and make each other better.” 

Quoting Syracuse forward C.J. Fair:

On what the key to the game was: 

“They lived in the paint. It was kind of hard to get around them because they’re big, strong and have good position. Sometimes you’d get around and it was too late because they already had the rebound. We did a good job defensively, we just didn’t rebound well. Their offensive rebounding killed us. That’s what determined our loss.”

On if playing with seven guys played a role: 

“I don’t think it played any role today. We had enough opportunities to win this game; it just comes back to our defensive rebounding and getting good position.”

Quoting Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams: 

On if Pitt’s defensive strategy in the second half changed the game:

“They were pressuring the lanes and I was able to get open a few times, but we missed a lot of shots. If (Brandon) and I don’t shoot the ball well, then we’re not going to win. The games we lost, I think I shot 20 percent or something like that. If I don’t shoot the ball well, we’re not going to win games.”

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