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Feb. 27, 2013

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

South Florida at No. 23 Pitt, Feb. 27, 2013, Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
No. 23 Pitt 64, South Florida 44

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening statement:

“Thanks for coming here tonight, I thought our crowd was terrific for a Wednesday night with the weather and everything, but once again an unbelievable crowd.  I thought it was a good game for us in that we learned some things. We learned that we can play against their patience. I talked to the guys about and to use a football term, time of possession was in their favor the first half. We were relying on jump shots and weren’t making them and when it becomes a low possession game, you’re battling it out like we expected. The defense and rebounding were good all the way through, and I thought our patience in the second half offensively was key. We switched what we were doing and emphasized our patience which as I pointed out to our guys we scored more points being patient, 38 points in the second half.  We got to understand that patience is just one more reversal, two more change of sides, and it only takes a couple more seconds, but it ends up getting you better looks and better offensive rebounding opportunities.  I thought Dante was terrific, he’s been playing really well in practice and it’s great to see.  I’m really happy for him; he’s knocking down free throws, running the floor well and locking down defensively.  I thought we got good performances from ten guys, it wasn’t our best game but South Florida’s patience hindered us in the first half, but I really like how we responded in the second half and it turned out to be a good learning lesson for us.”

On Dante Taylor’s performance off the bench:

“What I’ve been impressed with is his practices. He’s been playing really well in practice, getting in at both spots, the four and the five and he’s been such a great player and teammate for us and his unselfishness is something that is recognized by his teammates. I’m really happy for him playing well down the stretch of his senior year.  He’s been a big part of a lot of wins here in a lot of different ways that may not show up in the score book, but I thought he was terrific today.  Between Dante and Steve, we had 16 rebounds out of those two so that’s a pretty good number.”

On James Robinson’s defense against the best guards in the Big East:

“His defense is really key for us, Tray (Woodall) was in the foul trouble so he didn’t get going as much, but I think James’ defense and ball movement have been really good.  He’s still figuring things out, not quite understanding what I’m saying at times, and that’s normal for a freshman or a lot of guys. The defending part he’s picked up though and has really taken it to a high level his freshman year which is rare.  He has good size, athletic ability and smarts and he takes pride in what he’s doing defensively. ”

On Tray Woodall finishing his senior year strongly:

“I know talking about the game at St. John’s, I think that might have been his best all around game.  Obviously his scoring stood out but his defense has been really terrific down the stretch here with the players he has had to guard.  I thought today he was good as well, but I don’t want to overlook the offensive numbers, but we’ve been really impressed with what he’s been doing defensively, there’s no question about it. He’s playing better defense which we’ve always tried to emphasize to him in that being better at defense will make him a better offensive player and make us a better team.  He’s been pressuring the ball and keeping the penetration in front of him and those are the things that we’ve really tried to get across.  If he’s doing it, it’s also going to make everyone else better at it too.”

Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson

On the free reign that Coach Dixon gave:

“If he does call a play, we do have the option to break the play off and make the best basketball play that’s there. Obviously, if it doesn’t work, he’s probably going to say something about it, but I think tonight we all just kind of got a rhythm. We were just out there playing. We were just having fun.”

On studying USF guard Anthony Collins:

“I talked to a lot of my teammates. They told me he was going to force the issue a little bit. He was going to dribble low. He’s quick. I tried to give him space and stay in front of him.”

Quoting Pitt forward Dante Taylor

On his first double-double of the season:

“It feels really good. I’ve been working hard these last few weeks in practice, so I just tried to carry it over to these last few games. Especially to get that one today with this being the second-to-last home game, I just tried to come out and play hard.”

On this Sunday’s game:

“For me, it’s definitely going to be emotional. I’m excited. I can’t wait. I know it’s going to be a big game. There’s going to be a lot of people here. I’m just going to come out and play well as hard as I can. I’m happy my family’s able to come out, especially with it being the first time they’ve been able to come out and watch a game. That part’s really big. I can’t wait for that day.”

Quoting Pitt guard Tray Woodall

On the feeling in the locker room at halftime when they were up by one:

“We didn’t make a lot of shots. It was pretty ugly in the first half. We shot 27 percent. I want to give credit obviously to the defense. Guys missed shots. We knew we weren’t going to keep missing shots. We wanted to make sure we kept fighting.”

On the 10-0 run in the second half:

“I think guys settled in. Coach was giving us free reign to go out and play. Some guys were probably surprised. Most guys settled down, and they started playing our basketball, just going out and playing how we do in practice. Guys started to get open looks and started getting open shots.”

On this Sunday’s game:

“Obviously, I think it’s going to be emotional. I said I was going to be one of those guys who probably won’t cry, but I cry at everything else except for Sunday. Obviously, it’s going to be emotional for our team. We’ve grown stronger as a team. Dante and I have bonded with this team. I’m just going to be happy that I got to play with this group of guys and help them to get better as players. I’ve seen all these guys grow up. It’s going to be sad to leave, but I think we’re going to leave the team in great hands.”

Quoting USF Head Coach Stan Heath

Opening Statement:

“Our team got off to a good start, but we just couldn’t sustain it. We were good for about 28-30 minutes. It just seemed like we had a hard time finishing plays, making layups, and some short shots. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. We’ve been struggling all year long, especially in Big East play. Their [Pitt] defense was good; they made some nice adjustments. Their size and their physicality created some problems, too. They’ve got a good team, certainly a team that could continue to win games and do damage going forward. 

On Pitt’s 10-0 run in the second half:

“We weren’t scoring. I thought we had some two foot shots when Collins got in there that he should have made and Fitzpatrick had a couple drop off passes that I thought he should of just went up straight up and scored with. You’ve got to make those kinds of shots and those kinds of plays. It was just our inability to put the ball in the basket and make easy plays that I thought we should have had. “

On the play of Dante Taylor:

“I was certainly hoping he would get his four or five points a game and that would be it, but he had a good game. He’s a senior so I’m sure he wants to finish his career on a high note. That has to be pretty encouraging for Pitt to see him come in and turn it on at the end of the year. He was a nice little plus on that front line.“

On keeping USF on an even keel during losing streak:

“It’s hard, but I give our kids a lot of credit. We had a little bit of a bye week and I thought we had some of our best days in practice. We’re a team in transition because we have some experienced guys, but we’re almost out there playing four on five and sometimes three on five because we have some young guys that are either good on the offensive end and struggle on the defensive end, or some guys that are good on the defensive end but have a hard time scoring and finishing plays. We’re in one of those states where it’s just about playing hard and finishing, but continuing to work to get better. I think our guys have bought into that. Obviously we are going to continue to play as hard as we can and play to win, but it’s tough. You want to have some success while you’re doing it.”

Quoting USF forward Victor Rudd

On difference between beating Pitt last year and tonight’s contest:

“Obviously, we had big players last year.  That really counted during the season.  It was a more physical game last year than it was this year.  Both teams are different.  Rebounding was a big key.  They had a lot of offensive rebounds.”

On solid week of practice resulting in a lead in the first half:

“I feel good about it.  All the way down to the last two or three minutes, after that they got some key offensive rebounds and hit some key shots.  We felt good coming into the game.  We just have to get back to work in practice tomorrow.”

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