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March 5, 2011

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No. 4 Pitt vs. No. 19 Villanova, March 5, 2011, Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

No. 4 Pitt 60, No. 19 Villanova 50


Quoting Pitt’s Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening Statement


“I’m very excited for a whole team, especially our seniors. We ended the season winning the Big East Championship outright on senior night. You can’t really do much better than that.  We did some great things. First off, winning the conference championship outright in a league that will have about ten or 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament, nobody has ever been a Champion in that kind of league, so that’s a first. I’m proud of what our guys accomplished. We have the numbers, ten guys finding a way to beat good teams. I’m happy for our seniors. It’s tough to think about their last game here, there were a lot of emotions, but we still have some work to do. But for our seniors, they’re from all over, but they’ll always have a home in Pittsburgh.”


On a big possession and stops in the second half:


“We were just trying to find momentum and trying to find that push, we just needed to take better care of the ball. We rebounded the ball and we defended all game and eventually our offense came into play. We just had to get some shots up. We had too many turnovers, but Villanova is a good team.  We found a way to pull away and win by ten. It felt as if we were on our heels a little bit but we played defense but it shouldn’t slow you down on the offensive end.”


On Villanova slowing the pace down:


“We knew they were going to do that from their first possession and even when we got up they stuck with it. They’re playing pretty banged up with injuries. They’re a pretty patient team anyways, you can talk about the pace and holding the ball, but I think this game was a little bit higher scoring than the last game we played. It was similar numbers, but at the end of the day, we know they’re going to set a ball screen and we have to guard it and on the offensive end, it shouldn’t effect what we do in any way.”


On playing against a team that slows the pace down:


“We’ve been playing against it all year, but the only one you hear about it the loss against Notre Dame. We saw it at Rutgers and with Villanova, those we both low scoring games and we’ve handled those. We rebound and defend, but we had too many turnovers in the first and a little in the second half, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the tempo, it has something to do with them holding the ball.”


On the atmosphere in the locker room after the game:


“The first thing we did was call Coach Sandal. He wasn’t able to be with us today and it was good for our guys to do that. We know how much he wanted to be a part of it. It’s a great respect. I told our guys to go out and enjoy it, but we’ve got to move on. We’ve got to get a little better for next week because whoever we play on Thursday is going to be good.”


On being in a position to be a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament:


“I think when you win one of the best leagues outright, you should be in a good position to be a number one seed.”


On Brad Wanamaker not scoring the first half:


“There wasn’t much scoring from anyone in the first half. The score was 22 to 18. There wasn’t a lot of great offense. As a unit, the positive we played better, smarter, we executed in the second half. We were patient and we were able to come away with a win by ten points and we were able to get Nick Rivers in the game. Villanova is a very good team, they’re one of the ten or 11 that will be going to the NCAA, and so we beat a great team.”


On hitting 23-26 free throws:


“Some games we have it, some games we don’t, but we began to pull away and it depends on who’s going to the line. We have some good shooters and we knocked them down. We outrebounded them by 13 and they’re a good rebounding team. They made some tough shots, but we were also able to hold them to 37 percent from the field.”


Quoting Pitt’s Gilbert Brown


On the team’s consistency throughout the year


“It means a lot to me, just being able to persevere through all the letdowns and losses and everything that has gone on all year, especially with my two seniors Brad and Gary. To be able to come out and play like this this season is a great feeling, especially coming out on top of the Big East in the regular season.


On scoring his 1,000 point on a three-point shot and giving the team a cushion


“I knew I was going to have the opportunity to knock down another three. I was hoping on a couple of rotations [that I would get the chance] and I knew that the opportunity was going to present itself again. As soon as I saw their defense scrapping up I took the opportunity. My guys were good enough to swing the ball and get it to me. It was a great shot and at a great time during the game. It helped change the momentum a little bit.”


On knowing if he had his 1,000th point on his three-pointer


“I knew it, just because earlier I had two points. I wasn’t stressing over it. I knew it was going to come to me. I wait patiently until finally it happened. It was a great feeling, especially along with winning the Big East Championship. It’s a feeling I can’t even describe.”


On Villanova’s ability to keep the game close


“The game we were playing today – just like the Notre Dame game – was a game of few possessions. They tried to hold out, break us down, and force shots from our offense while they remained patient and tried to get consistent, open looks here and there. We have to just really stay focused and patient and value every possession because every possession, every shot we took mattered with the minimal possessions we had.”


On the possibility of seeing more teams being patient and force Pitt to take shots


“Possibly. Notre Dame has been successful against us the last three games [we’ve faced them.] I think we may see a couple more teams try to slow us down. I really think that a lot of teams are just going to try and play their game. I can see it happening it the tournament, though.


On the importance of cracking the Final Four


“It’s been playing in our minds since we came to Pitt just because of the history that we have not really getting past the Sweet Sixteen, but then we made the Elite Eight. We really want to make this special for the seniors, especially with the team we have. We have a special group of individuals. I think we’re capable of doing a lot of great things. This is just the first step. I feel really confident going into the postseason.”


Quoting Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker


On the team knowing the season isn’t quite over

“We’re happy, but we realized that [winning the regular season title] is just the first check point of what we want to do this year. After tonight we’re going to focus on New York and what we have to do down there.”


On the inevitability of the post-game ceremony

“Our whole mindset coming in was to win this game. Regardless we were going to come out and play to win this game, and that’s what we did. We came out as champs, just like we thought before the game.”


On being aware of Notre Dame’s victory

“Some people were talking about it, but we really didn’t care. We just knew. We handled our business and knew where we wanted to be.”


On containing Villanova

“We did a good job of containing them. When they were on offense they were running the clock out, but we did a great job of getting stops and getting the rebounds.”


Quoting Pitt’s Gary McGhee


On how they handled this game differently than the Notre Dame game


“We knew the game was going to be short of possessions. After the first half we just did a better job of moving the ball on offense and getting the shot we wanted, not so much rushing shots. We did a good job of executing that in the second half.”


On what the next steps are


“Obviously the next step is going to New York and competing in the Big East Tournament and trying to come out on top there. We’re looking forward to going out there on Thursday and playing.”


Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs


On teammates asking his advice on foul shooting


“No, not really. That’s the coaches’ job. I leave it to the coaches unless someone comes and asks me, but I leave everything to the coaches.”


On how impressive it was to score 38 points in the second half


“I think it was a good move by us because [Coach] Dixon stressed patience. We knew we had to be more patient in the second half. We took advantage of shots they gave us, especially in the second half. We did a good job of that, and our patience got us the win.”


On what the seniors mean to this program and to him


“I think the main point is leadership on and off the court. They are very vocal. From the summertime, when we were in the gym every day, that’s really what it came down to. A lot of these guys just work really hard. You see the improvement in every game. That’s one thing I’m going to take from them – just the leadership, how vocal they are, and at the same time how hard they work.”


Quoting Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright


Opening Statement


“First, I want to congratulate Pitt on their Big East championship.  They deserve it.  They are an outstanding team.  They are well-coached.  I love how their guys compete.  Their guys are classy.  They play hard, they don’t talk any trash.  Yes, we want to beat their asses when we play them, but we really respect them.  We have great respect for their program.  They made all the big plays at the end and we didn’t.  We had some missed free throws in the first half, which could have separated us a little bit.  I thought the two offensive rebounds in the second half, the one by [Dante] Taylor and the one by [Gary] McGhee were backbreakers.  We had the stops and they got the huge offensive rebounds.  The one was an and one.  We have to get those rebounds.  That’s the little things that they do.  Maybe guys aren’t making shots, but then guys make those plays, that’s what great teams do.”


On Corey Fisher’s injury and if he will be okay:


“I don’t know.  It’s something he’s been dealing with the second half of the Big East season.  He could be, he could not be.  He could have been also worn down from playing against that team. “


On taking the positives from this game into the Big East Tournament:


“We’re trying.  We’ve played very, very good teams.  Our last four games, Syracuse has been playing great, St. Johns had been playing great coming into our place.  You still have to get those at home, though.  Notre Dame was just out of their minds.  Pitt today, this is why I really respect them.  There’s some pressure on them.  You want to win it.  You probably don’t talk about it, but you want to win it outright.  We’re trying to play a close game with them.  They know they need that game.  I give them a lot of credit, that’s why we have respect for them.”


On what makes Pitt a great rebounding team:


“I think they are totally complete.  Everything that you need to do to rebound, they do.  You need to be athletic.  You need to be strong.  You need to be hungry.  You need to be technically correct.  They just do all of it.  You need to do it as a team.  We try to do a lot of the same things as them.  When we are doing things correctly, and have veterans like that, we have great games.  We’re very similar.  They are better right now.  That’s like I said, they wouldn’t have given up those two [offensive] rebounds at that point in the game.  As a team, they understand the importance of those plays.  We did a decent job. They are complete, they don’t miss a possession.”


On playing slower:


“We had a day.  He [Corey Stokes] got hurt on Thursday in practice.  We knew there was no way we were going to go in there and outscore these guys without Corey [Stokes].  We still ran our stuff, we just did it later in the clock.  We don’t like to do that.”


On the play of Maalik Wayns:


“He’s got the guts.  We were looking bad offensively for a stretch, and he didn’t give up.  He kept battling.  I love the kid.”

Post Game Quotesheet

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