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March 21, 2010

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes


NCAA Tournament Second Round

No. 3 seed Pitt vs. No. 6 seed Xavier, Milwaukee, Wis., Bradley Center, March 21, 2010

No. 6 Xavier 71, No. 3 Pitt 68


DENNIS KRAUSE:  Opening comments from Jamie Dixon and then questions for student-athletes Brad Wanamaker and Ashton Gibbs.


Jamie Dixon:  Obviously when you lose one that close, it's going to sting and it's going to hurt.  And our guys are really suffering right now because they gave so much.  I told them how proud I am of them after the game and what they've done all year and how they battled even in this game and how they came out and did the things we wanted them to do.  We wanted to outrebound it.  We did it by nine.  Cut down the turnovers, nine turnovers.  We did the things we wanted to do, but at the end of the day -- the other thing is the free throws.  They got to the free throw line more than we did and that's the thing that we wanted to do that we didn't do. But they're a good team, Xavier, and we know that and obviously comes down to the last possession and someone's gotta lose and I'm very proud of our guys and proud of everything they did and a great group, and I can't tell you how proud I am of them.


DENNIS KRAUSE:  Questions for the student-athletes.


Q.  When you got the look at the end of the game, Brad, did it feel like, when it left your hands, did it feel like it was good, or did you feel like you rushed it a little bit?


Brad Wanamaker:  No, I think I got it off in time.  .4 seconds.  Coach drew up a good play.  I thought it was good when it left my hand but it came up short.


Q.  When you made the run at the end of the game, had a shot at a tie, what was going through your guys' mind at that time?


Brad Wanamaker:  What was going through my mind is we have been here before.  I had the confidence to tie the game and go into overtime.  Ashton got a good look.  I got a good look.  The shots just didn't go in.


Q.  Ashton, you had 18 points in the first half and they shut you down pretty good in the second half, was there any defensive adjustments that they made that took the ball out of your hands?


Ashton Gibbs:  They closed out well on shots.  My teammates did a good job of finding me open spots.  It was just my job to knock down the op shots.  And it was something I didn't do in the second half.


Q.  Between you and also Dixon, you had a good amount of time guarding Crawford and also he was guarding you guys.  What was your game plan defensively and offensively just trying to help your team out?


Brad Wanamaker:  Crawford is a good player.  Our job was to go out there, make him take tough shots.  He made some tough shots.  Got some passes on the fast break and got him going.  But we came up short tonight.  We could have played it a little bit better.  Credit Xavier and the way they played.


Q.  You said credit Xavier, the way they played.  Do you feel like you guys were half a click it seemed like for periods of the game, especially on the offensive end, shots that should go in -- shots you made against Marquette, you didn't seem to make them tonight, was that more Xavier or was that more you guys not making shots you normally make?


Brad Wanamaker:  It was more so us.  We had the shots that we had in previous games, previous games we knocked them down.  Today they came up short.  We had a lot of chances, second chances with missed shots so we outrebounded them like coach said but we came up short in the end.


DENNIS KRAUSE:  Thank you.  Questions for coach.


Q.  The turnover that happened where they gave them the ball back, before you got the final shot at the end of the game, did you think that that was your ball?  And why didn't they replay that or did you ask them to replay that and take a look at it right by your bench?


Jamie Dixon:  They can't replay that.  That's a call -- I think they just came up with the decision.  We have very good officials.  We're very familiar with all three guys, and they did a great job.  So we don't blame officials.  And they did a good job the entire game.  But they can't look at the monitor on that play.  That's a judgment call.  And I think obviously it was a tough play to see obviously in that corner there. So there's no blaming officials from our university and we won't start doing that.


Q.  Coach, you said earlier in your opening statement how proud you were.  Could you talk a little bit about losing the leaders that you had last year and still being able to accomplish what you accomplished this season?


Jamie Dixon:  It's something that gets talked more about from outside our program than inside, I think.  I think this group had total confidence in themselves.  Some people may look at it as a surprise.  I know we weren't picked that high.  But where we got to, but there's disappointment in that locker room and really a feeling that we didn't win a game that we felt we should have won. And we did things for the most part we defended.  We rebounded like we wanted to.  But it just seemed like we didn't make some of the shots tonight early on, some layups we missed, that just put us in a hole. And we just didn't finish as well as we needed to.  But they're a good program.  We're a good program.  You know, it comes down to one possession.  They're happy and we're suffering inside the locker room.  So we did some good -- I was proud of how our guys finished, too.  Talk about a young team, you finish a game and battle back and execution of plays, and we got the shots that we wanted to get at the end pretty much for the whole entire game.  But we just didn't make the shots that we needed to make.


Q.  Jordan Crawford, the way he plays is very gifted and moves very swiftly.  Can you think of anyone in the Big East or elsewhere in the country who has a similar game?


Jamie Dixon:  I think every kid is unique in their own way.  But we've got some pretty good players in there.  And I mean, he's got the ability to shoot the ball from 3.  Obviously made some 3s today and that made him more effective.  But I think some transition baskets that he got as well were key. But I can't think off the top of my head somebody to really compare him to.  Today he was the guy that made some shots.  He's the leading scorer.  And he made the shots tonight.


Q.  You've come from behind in the final minute in a few games this year, Louisville and West Virginia, could you talk about how that helped the comeback today?


Jamie Dixon:  It probably did.  Guys believed it.  Louisville is another game.  We just found ways to get back in it and make plays.  And we really did think.  And as I told them at halftime, I thought if we continue to do the things we did, the shots would start falling which they did for the most part. We still missed a lot of layups in the second half, too, it seemed as well.  Drives to the basket where we got by people.  But you could tell that we've been there before, how we battled back and the plays we made and the execution, we did the things you needed to do.  We trapped where we wanted to trap and I mean each time they got it in even on the sideline it was a couple times when they got the fouls, they're barely getting it in on the sideline and in a crowd.  So you could see that we have been there before and did the things to put ourselves in the position.  But we just didn't make shots to start, and that's what's disappointing, I think.  Get outrebounded by nine and have nine turnovers, you should win a game.


Q.  In the last second, when it looked like the game might have been over, was there any doubt in your mind that they would put the time on the clock, and did you have to do any convincing of the officials?


Jamie Dixon:  No, there was no doubt.  I heard the horn go out after the ball went out of bounds and the whistle had gone off.  So there was no doubt in my mind.  I was setting up a play right away and brought them in.  So there was no doubt in my mind on that.  And I think obviously when you go to the monitor and that's what they come up -- it's hard to argue with the monitor.  So that's one thing I don't think is hard to do.


Q.  Obviously the game is about possessions.  Two-part question.  First, for possessions, what possession did you feel in the game made a difference for your team to put your team in the position to win?  Because obviously you did have a last shot.  But sometimes as a coach you look at four-minute point in the second half that would have made a difference for the rest of the game.


Jamie Dixon:  I thought a big play was the one where we had the ball in the first half, I don't know if that's what you're asking about, I think that's when their run started, is Brad had the shot underneath the basket and didn't convert it.  And then that's when they came down and hit the 3, when Redford hit the 3 at the other end in the first half. We had the lead, I think we were up by 3 at the time, had a layup, and they come down and get a 3 at the other end.  That's when they seem to have gone on the run, I think it was 13-0 or 16, nobody's told me.  To me that was the play that changed it.  But at the same time we battled back in the second half and put ourselves in the position to win the game.


Q.  Obviously you're more worried about Pitt and the program here.  But it's another Big East loss.  People are going to look at it.  Going into next year for Pitt and also the Big East, how do you view NCAA tournament for teams talking about we can take down teams from arguably the best conference in the country?


Jamie Dixon:  Well, I think it's the case with our teams, the Big East, I think everybody is kind of -- we're always talked about as the best conference in the country.  When we lose some games in the tournament, it becomes more talked about.  And obviously it's a story to be written. So we lost a close game.  Notre Dame lost a close game.  You're talking about one-possession games.  It went the other way.  And I think anybody watching this game said either team could have won.  That's what happens in these situations.  That's how it is I think our conference matches up as well as anybody.  And I think that's pretty clear.  So again that's why this tournament is what it is.  You lose and you go home and it's one game and that decides it.  It's not a seven-game series.


Q.  You lost Gilbert down the stretch, hit some 3s to kind of get you back into the mix.  How much did that limit what you wanted to do offensively, even on a four-tenths of a second shot?


Jamie Dixon:  We brought in Chase Adams.  Good shooter, 3-point shooter.  We had him in here at the last second.  He was obviously the guy who was hitting shots.  Had his fifth foul and can't do anything about it.  So assistant coaches, Brandon and Coach Herrion told me to mention getting Chase in there for that 3-point shot.  So stretched out the defense a little bit.  We got a good look.  Can't get a better look in .4 seconds. I was proud how they executed the play.  We got what we wanted and a pretty good look, really good look at that point.  So we really did make -- we did execute down the stretch in a tough position, and I thought we trapped at the right time.  Every pass they tried to get in was on the sideline deflected or not deflected or falling out of bounds.  We put ourselves in the position.  So I was proud and we work on that stuff.  We put ourselves in situations like that.  We practice those situations, and it showed.


DENNIS KRAUSE:  Thank you.

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