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Feb. 19, 2011

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No. 4 Pitt at St. John’s, Feb. 19, 2011, New York, N.Y., Madison Square Garden

St. John’s 60, No. 4 Pitt 59



Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening comments:


“This is one of the toughest losses.  I am proud of how we played and how we handled things and executed the last play; we got the open look and Travon (Woodall) made a great shot. We put ourselves in a good position. We did a lot of good things, thought we could have done some things better. We wanted to win the rebound battle but we didn’t, we wanted to get more free throws but we didn’t and we wanted to take care of the ball better. Turnovers hurt us but we played hard and we played well and I give them (St. John’s) credit. There were a couple of things that we wanted to do that we are good at. We are a team that out rebounds people and gets to the free throw line and we didn’t do that tonight.”


On the atmosphere of the final minutes:


“I am not a big guy on crowds and I don’t really recognize them. It was a good atmosphere, seems like a lot of games we’ve played in the past here and when we’ve won against St. John’s. It did seem like a usual game against St. John’s, we just usually win. That’s the biggest difference.”


On Gilbert Brown’s defense on Dwight Hardy last play:


“He had him in a pretty good spot. He had him stopped and behind the backboard, he was in front but he didn’t clearly beat him. We guarded pretty much how we wanted to guard it, we thought we had him in a pretty good spot below the block and going for the baseline. For the most part, he guarded what we thought they were going to do. They just took a tough shot as it rolled in and I give him credit for that.”


On Ashton Gibbs’ returning:


“He played well and I felt pretty good about him in practice. He didn’t really do much until Thursday, but  Friday, I felt really good about him. He was just moving quick and getting the shots and moving hard on the defensive ends. I felt pretty good with him going into the game but you don’t really know how he’ll be until you are in the game. I thought a couple of our guys were pretty banged up but they played well.”


On St. John’s joining the Top Big East:


“They are playing well. They have eight seniors and it is a unique situation, they all played together and got close and gained a lot of experience. I think our teams  (BIG EAST) are ranked well. I am not sure how the voting will be, obviously some games early on will factor in. You have to play at a high level all the way through. They are playing very good right now and they have won a lot of close games.”


Quoting Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker


On The End of the Game:


“We had some turnovers. Travon (Woodall) had some good shots and I want to give some credit for that. We needed that stop and that is something we didn’t get.”


On St. John’s rebounding:


“When they were getting the offensive rebounds it was tough. The crowd was in it and (Dwight) Hardy did some things, got to the foul line and made big shots.”


Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs


On his first game back:


“It felt good and I knew my knee was fine; I practiced the last few days. This was a tough loss because we had so many chances to win in the last three minutes and we just slipped up and lost the game on our own. We just have to recuperate and get back to practice.”


On Dealing With Opponent’s Best Effort:


“Being the top team in the conference and being one of the top teams in the country, you are going to get everyone’s best shot, especially in an away game. It was tough and you have to come out strong from the beginning and that will carry us through the end of the game.”


On the end of March:


“I think we have all the pieces. Everyone knows their role and we are not selfish. We have to keep the chemistry on the defensive end and in rebounding.”


Quoting St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin


On the Final Huddle:


“I wanted to encourage the group to have fun.  I told them, life will never get any better than this moment; even though we were down by six. I said going back to CYO basketball or at the playground, it is still a game. There was a stretch where we were playing joyless basketball. This is Madison Square Garden, you got this place electrified, you are playing with your best friends and playing the No. 4 team in the country, this is fun. I do not care, it is not about winning, losing or getting the bucket; it is about enjoying this moment and playing with passion and use everything we have to enjoy this gift. The focus was more about that than strategy.”


On the St. John’s Development:


“I think we are ahead of schedule in terms of the high level of basketball that we have played in six of the last seven games. Coming into the year, our goal was to make the NCAA tournament and to send our seniors out on a high note, which they deserve. In terms of the number of wins over the quality opponents, we may be a bit ahead of schedule. My hope was to, by March, have a dangerous, opportunistic team that could beat anybody in the country, that didn’t bring an A game or if they over looked us.  It appears we hit that in late January and February.”


On the St. John’s Coaching Staff


“I enjoy working with the staff; they have a range of personalities, age, and expertise. I call it a tool box; it is a wonderful mix. I have never been on a team where everyone gets along so well.”


On the memory of today’s game”


“Inside the four minutes, our players seemed deflated. That’s when I went to more of the joy of the game. I told them we are at The Garden playing the No. 4 team in the country and the crowd is electrifying, this is just as good as it gets. The other (memory) would be Dwight Hardy coming off that pick and roll and seemingly getting buried under the basket but emerging; to see the ball get into the rim it was pretty surreal. To see that shot beat the No.4 team in the country was surreal.”


On D.J. Kennedy’s performance today:


“The fact he was out for a long stretch and came in, we ran a play that gets him down to score and I think that helped right away. He was fouled and made a couple of free throws, he had an offensive rebound. He was locked in this whole week getting ready for Pittsburgh and being a (Pittsburgh) native, he wanted to play well. We had foul trouble but we withstood it because of our depth and key contributions. We were able to catch up, close out, and win.”


Quoting St. John’s D.J. Kennedy


On Today’s Game:


“It was big. We had to come out as tough as them (Pittsburgh), if not tougher. I was making plays for the team. We had a few clutch offensive rebounds and that gave us a chance to win the game late. I was cheering my teammates on (while on the bench). I wanted them to stay positive.”


On the technical foul call:


“I think it was a close call, I can’t really argue with the referee. I was just focused on the game and lost it early; came into the second half and refocused.”


On defeating Pittsburgh:


“It was great. Greatest feeling since I’ve been here (St. John’s). Great to get the opportunity to beat them and go back home to say I beat them.”

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