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Feb. 18, 2013

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No. 25 Notre Dame at No. 20 Pitt, Feb. 18, 2013, Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

No. 25 Notre Dame 51, No. 20 Pitt 42

Quoting Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon

Opening statement:

“Obviously we were disappointed in our performance, in our play, our execution, pretty much every facet, so there’s not much else to say. We got out-rebounded, gave up 60-percent from the field, didn’t guard well enough, and our shot selection wasn’t very good. I thought even with the lead I didn’t feel like our offense was very good. I thought we played hard defensively when we got some turnovers and steals that got us some transition buckets, but again, I didn’t think we played well even when we had the lead, to be honest. That really speaks to 40 minutes of not playing to the level we’ve been playing to. We’ve got to get something fixed and we’ve got to get it changed. We’ve got to work on it and get ready for Sunday because this is obviously not the same team we have been playing. We didn’t play well last game, and to get out-rebounded by 15 (tonight) is just an unbelievable number. Our guys are extremely disappointed and I’m disappointed, and as I told them, I take full responsibility for how we played.”

On momentum shifting in favor of Notre Dame tonight:

“You can point to where the numbers changed and where we were up, but like I said, we didn’t play well offensively early and we were down on the rebounding at that point too, by a big number. There were some things that I don’t think we were doing well enough even with the margin that we had. We were playing hard and we were getting some steals and we were aggressive in doing some things, but we seemed to lose that aggressiveness as the game progressed. We had some foul trouble in the first half and that changed our rotation a bit.”

On the Panthers’ struggles rebounding in the last two games:

“That’s two games in a row and we’ve been drilling it and we’ve been talking about it. In our losses there’s a common denominator and the rebounding has been the thing to stand out. That’s where we’ve come up short in our seven losses and in this one it’s emphasized even more. I think when our offense is not very good and the other team shoots 60-percent for the first half, and in the last game against Marquette they shot 60-percent, that’s going to limit defensive rebounds for you.”

On the concerns of a late-season cold streak for Pitt:

“We just have to play better, and I don’t know if it’s ‘cold’ or not. Say what you will, but we have to play better. We haven’t played well and obviously we’re a team that put up good numbers offensively and defensively and we haven’t in the last two games. We’ve got to get something done in practice at this point and understand that, because that’s where it’s going to get changed. We’ve got to get back to getting it done in practice with our effort and our execution, and communication.”

Quoting Pitt guard Tray Woodall

On today’s game:

“Today was just a bad game for us.  We played selfish.  We are a team that passes the ball.  We work well with nine and ten guys.  Tonight we had nine without Durand (Johnson).  It’s just numbers and our rebound numbers indicate how selfish we played.  It resulted in a loss.  We can’t dwell on this game and find ourselves.”

On Notre Dame’s adjustment after Pitt’s 16 point lead:

“They made us take some tough shots when they went back to the zone after they played man.  They threw our rhythm off a little bit.  We work on zone every day.  It shouldn’t have messed our rhythm up that much.  Besides that they just made us take tough shots.”

On whether or not Pitt became overconfident when they were up 16 points:

“No.  We made them take tough shots.  We were getting deflections and causing turnovers.  The whistle wasn’t being blown early.  We were being aggressive.  We see teams like Louisville and they get after the ball early.  They don’t get a quick whistle.  Once the whistle was blown and they made a couple free throws, they saw the ball go through the rim and that gave them confidence to start knocking down shots.”

Quoting Pitt forward Dante Taylor

On Pitt’s struggle with rebounding:

“It was just getting after it from the beginning when it comes to rebounding.  Even though we were scoring we never took control of the game as far as rebounding.  We never manned up and tried to keep them off the glass.  They just kept with it.  We knew their shots would eventually fall and that is what happened.  We just let it get away from us and that usually doesn’t happen with this team.”

On whether he knew that Notre Dame was outrebounding Pitt during the 16 point lead:

“We knew we were getting outrebounded.  It was something we went over every timeout and media timeout.  We tried responding as we should have.  When get outrebounded like this at home we tend to lose.”

Quoting Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Bray

Opening Statement:

“Yesterday we came down here and we really worked on our offense, you could tell the teacher that I am, we got off to a great start offensively and really digested that stuff.  For our group to withstand that start, I’m just so thrilled with how we guarded and rebounded.  To outrebound them (Pitt) by 15 and keep them off the offense boards, because they do that so well, it was huge.  Early in the game it was hard because of their defense because their defense just is so good.  I’m thrilled for our group, it seems like we’ve been on the road for awhile and to end this road trip with a win against these guys here is great.  We need some rest right now and I’m glad we don’t play until Sunday.”

On Notre Dame’s 48-23 run after his technical foul:

“I don’t know how much it’s pre-meditated, I was just so frustrated and thought on some of our drives we were getting bumped a little bit.  He probably could have thrown me out because I stayed after him and he looked away and I thank him for that.  Sometimes that does change the vibe however.  We got some stuff in transition though, and once we got a couple in transition, you went (exhales) and got a deep breath.  Jerian was really able to get off ball screens.  I thought Jerian and Eric were fabulous after the first 10 minutes and the whole second half controlling the tempo.  Then the last seven minutes we were burning and getting great stuff at the end of the clock.”

On what he told the team once they were down 19-3:

“I didn’t talk too much because I was a raving lunatic through most of that time-out after the technical but they really talked to themselves.  I did tell them that we were defending pretty well, just hang on in there because we are defending well and only giving them one shot, so we’re going to get a spurt here.  For us to be down only three at halftime, are you kidding me, after where we were, we felt great being at three so that was a moral victory going into halftime.”

On how his team’s rebounding margin affected the win:

“I really challenged our guys and said in this stretch, since we lost Scott Martin, we’re six and two and the two games we lost (Syracuse and Providence), we weren’t physical enough on the front line.  The six games we won, we have been very physical and I challenged them to get back to that.  I thought our bigs, guards and everybody rebounded.  I think Jerian (Grant) got five, Eric (Atkins) got four, Pat (Connaughton) got some big rebounds, it was one of those were you just had to scratch it out and you felt as long as they’re not getting second shots, you’re going to be able to make a run at this thing.”

Quoting Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley

On struggling and key to the comeback:

“To out rebound them that bad is huge, it just shows how tough our team is. Pat Connaughton pulled down some rebounds today and it was some of the the most impressive rebounds I have ever seen. Everyone just came in with the mentality of getting boards; it is so great to see, instead of just one out liar everyone just working together.”

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