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Feb. 27, 2011

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No. 4 Pitt at No. 16 Louisville, February 27, 2011, Louisville, Ky., KFC Yum! Center

No. 16 Louisville 62, No. 4 Pitt 59 (OT)


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening comments:

“Congratulations to Louisville. I know they are excited about the win. There was a lot of excitement about the game.  They just came up a basket ahead of us. I give them credit. It really came down to one shot, one play. They came up a little bit ahead. I like how we responded in the second half. I thought it was something we could build upon. We attacked the zone and we getting good shots. We shot 56 percent in the second half. We out-shot them 41 percent to 34 percent. We did good things and defended well enough. Turnovers hurt us. I think that was big. We had four travel calls, which really hurt us, and that was a quarter of our turnovers.  That is something you just can’t have. We’ll go back and work on that, but it was a good game, and I give them a lot of credit.”


On the press versus the half-court set:

“I don’t think the press bothered us. It was in the half court and getting in the lane and making some plays. We out-shot them by a pretty large margin. We out-rebounded them. We felt pretty good about that. We did some good things. It came down to turnovers, which stood out a bit. As I go through the turnovers, we had four travel calls, we had some in the lane. We had some in the press. Those are things we have to work on.”


On Louisville limiting Nasir Robinson:


“He got a lot of touches. He got a travel call and he got some turnovers. He got some touches, but he was 1-for-7 in 20 minutes and had five turnovers. I think he missed a couple of lay-ups, which stood out as well. I like Nasir. I like Nasir against the zones this year, but again, some days shots fall, and some days they don’t.”

On Louisville’s defense:

“I actually thought Gibbs got good shots. Sometimes shots fall and sometimes they don’t. But he had 14 points. He was 2-of-6 from 3-point land and had good looks. I don’t want to read too much into that. We had good shots when we got down. But the turnovers really hurt us offensively, but we had good looks, especially early when we got down. In the second half, we shot 56 percent from the field. Our offense wasn’t an issue. We were getting good looks, we were getting wide open looks. That is a good sign.”

On the layup on final possession in overtime:

“We can’t get a better look than that. We did exactly what we wanted. We couldn’t have had a better situation. I liked the way we were attacking and transition before the defense was completely set and that is what we wanted to do a little bit more of. We got exactly what we wanted we wanted out of that. He got a good look underneath and we did the right things to put us in a position to finish the play. We had god execution. We just need to finish the play, but I’m not going fault the kid for trying to make the shot.”


On getting down in the first half:

“I think we didn’t make shots. Ashton had a couple of good open looks that they didn’t want to have happen. We keep fighting and battling to get yourself back in the game and that is what we did. I think was good for us in the second half to come out and shot 56 percent in the second half and 60 percent from the 3-point line. That is adjusting, getting better and making shots. We had a little bit more movement. We ran more man plays than we had in the first half. WE got the message across a little bit better. I thought that was good for us.”


Quoting Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino


Opening Statement:


“We got a great win. It was a terrific basketball game. We are one game up on segment six. I thought our guys played great defense throughout the game and made some really good plays offensively. I’m real proud of our guys. They gave a terrific team effort against a very good basketball team.”


On winning even with shooters off:


“Kyle (Kuric) wasn’t, but I think Kyle was awesome on the backboard. He took good shots, and Mike Marra took good shots. We were winning with our defense, certainly. I thought rebounding down the stretch was a major key. They are plus 11 on the backboard and only beat us by one. They shot a better percentage than us. They shot very well in the second half. We had a bad injury with Rakeem Buckles; he strained his (right) knee. We’ve played three overtime games. In one, we were very aggressive at Connecticut. The other one at Notre Dame, we let them fire it on us. I told them we’ve got to come out aggressive. We ran a pick and roll play, where Preston (Knowles) back picked Kyle. That was a great play by Preston. He set either a down screen or a back screen. Preston set a great screen and Kyle made a great play.”


On Rakeem Buckles’ injury:


“He has a sprained (right) knee. Normally, you’ll be out for a week, in our case six to eight.”


On rebounding:


“We were just talking about the one thing that could keep us from being an in improved basketball team, and it’s the backboard. I told them it is not going to happen from the four or five. It is going to have to come from the one, two and three. We’re continuing to do a good job with that. One time, Peyton (Siva) missed a layup and he was laying on the ground, looking for a foul call and they come down and make a 3. Another time, Preston thinks he gets fouled, he’s late on rotation, and they make a shot. We’re trying to get the mentality of thinking defense every time down the floor. That’s it. If the ball goes in, don’t celebrate, it’s no big deal. If the ball doesn’t go in, don’t hang your head, it’s no big deal. We’re trying to develop that mentality going into the tournament. “


On defense:


“We were playing excellent defense. We’re doing a lot of really good things on offense. We got them to come out of man and they played zone, and we took good shots against the zone. It shows our guys that they don’t need offense to win. That’s the number one lesson we have to learn in all of this – that defense wins. If the shots go in, you’ve got yourself a different ball game and we win by 14 or 15. If the shots aren’t going in, you just have to get the ‘W’ and we did a good job of that tonight.”


On Preston Knowles playing point guard:


“We’re working on it really hard with him. It’s tough on him physically. He’s trying to work on his passing, but I’d like to give him a little bit more of a blow. Certainly, we can in certain situations because the pace wasn’t devastating tonight. But if we continue to rebound and play defense like this, we will be a much improved ball club.”


On Siva taking a lot of hits:


“What he’s got to learn more than anything else is when he goes down, if he’s going to crack the first marker (block after the free throw line), he’s got to learn to pump fake. If not, he’s got to break the guy down and look at the corners. He threw a good interior pass to TJ (Terrence Jennings) and he stepped out of bounds. Once he cracks that first marker, he’s got to understand he’s got to learn to ball fake and get the guy in the air a little bit. “


On earning a double bye in BIG EAST Tournament:


“I’d rather play. To tell you the truth, I think we’d rather play because of all the time we’ve missed, playing helps us. Certainly, getting a double bye with what we thought before the season is a tremendous accomplishment for the guys. But,we would rather play. Our practices are pretty tough. I know the guys would rather play. We’re certainly trying to win segment six, which would be a heck of an achievement.”

On the play of Mike Marra:


“I thought Mike was doing some really good things offensively and defensively. Mike is the most cerebral guy on defense. Whenever we play our zone, it’s man to man, its constantly switching, and Mike talks the most. Mike did a lot of good things passing the ball. I thought he was doing some good things defensively. He’s back to playing well and we’re excited about his improvement. I thought Kyle (Kuric) was magnificent on the backboard for a 6-foot-5 basketball player.”


On the team maxing out its potential:


“I thought we would be a .500 team, and that’s not real good. We are nowhere near our potential because of all the injuries. We’ve had so many guys miss time. (Rakeem) Buckles put on 11 pounds, and not good weight. Gorgui (Dieng) missed an awful lot of time. When you have a concussion and you’re out, you can’t lift. One guy is out and he’s not keeping his body in shape and the other guy has a concussion and can’t lift. Kyle was out a long time also. Our defense now has a full lineup and has gotten much better. Offensively, we’re doing some smart things, so we’re starting to reach our potential because we’re practicing. Early in the year, we were just trying to get to the next game, so we’re really focusing on improving. I don’t mean to say we’re a .500 team.  We didn’t have high expectations. We always look to make the tournament. We call it a bridge year. I specifically didn’t want to say rebuilding because that means you’re planning for the future. A bridge year means if you get better during the year, you build your bridge and at the end of the year you cross it and you’re a good basketball team. With (Jared) Swopshire and all the injuries, our players have done an amazing job of overcoming it. We had a lot of makeshift lineups. We really said we’re just going to take care of the present. We’re not going to think ahead. That’s why we did those segments. The segments are really to keep the guys positive and upbeat. If we lose two out of three in one segment, we can come back and win three out of three and get even.”

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