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Nov. 8, 2010

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Pitt vs. Rhode Island, 2K Sports Classic/Coaches vs. Cancer

November 8, 2010


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening Statement
“Obviously we have great respect for Rhode Island. The reason why teams don’t want to play them, especially on November 8 is because of how well they play and how well they’re coached. It was a good win, a quality win. There’s also a reason why we are top three in RPI over the last nine to 10 years, and it’s because we play teams like this. We got the game we thought we would tonight.


“I’m happy with how we finished, with how we played and I saw some good things out there. They made some threes, some tough threes and that’s what made the game close. But at the end of the day we made some plays. We made free throws, ran the clock and made plays when we needed to. Our execution at last four minutes was very strong.”


On the strong run at the end of first half:
“In the first half we charted that we missed nine layups. I think the difference in the second half is that we made the layups. I think that was the biggest difference. If you miss layups, it often times turns into transition baskets the other way. That’s what happened for the most part.


“We always seem to be matched up and trying to recover in transition. I think that we just started to make-up layups in that last stretch, and that’s what made the difference. We did it in the second half too, but their 3-point shooting kept them in the game as we were starting to put it away.”


On overcoming first-game nerves:
“No, I don’t think the guys were nervous. You don’t make every layup. We weren’t nervous; we were excited to play. We played a very good team- a team that presses two and a half weeks into the season. We took on the challenge and it’ll be a quality win later on in the season. I thought we made some good decisions in the first half.”


On Brad Wanamaker being a team leader:
“He did some good things, and always has. He can get better and improve. We have a long way to go. This is a game that there are no two teams of this caliber playing the first two weeks of the season; they’re just not doing it. People are probably going to keep an eye on this game, and everything that happened.


“I feel better, and have felt more confident, because the last two days we’ve had better practices with everybody out there. That’s what we need- everyone out there.”


On the performance of the redshirt freshmen:
“It was an interesting game. You don’t want the first game to be against a team pressing and shooting 3-pointers like they did. We thought Lamar Patterson would be good at this. He’s a good passer and can guard on the perimeter. Talib Zanna did things well and so did Lamar Patterson. Their freshmen, they still have things to learn.


“We did some things with our rotation because of the game, and where we’re at this early on in the season. I think we’ll have some other guys that will be playing- Nasir Robinson, J.J. Moore.”


On guarding a player like Delroy James:
“I don’t think we learned anymore tonight than we did watching him on film. The main thing is that no matter what the score is, this guy is going to be shooting the ball deep and keep on playing. Some might call them questionable shots, but its different when you’re down and you have nothing to lose- that’s when he hit most of them. He feels like he’s the guy that has to make the play.

“He’s a good player. There were no surprises. I think he was really excited about this game. He plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm- he was fearless out there. We found a way, and we made him take tough shots. We’re a big team on defense- we reached our goals tonight.”


On not having Nasir Robinson in the game:
“It didn’t change our strategy, but it’s just that we didn’t have a guy. It’s all part of basketball. You have to adjust, get guys ready and build up depth on your program for situations that arrive like tonight.”


Quoting Pitt senior guard Brad Wanamaker


On playing Rhode Island:
“It helps us to play a team like Rhode Island for our first game. They’re a good team and they’re going to make the Tournament. They shoot the three-point ball well and they gave us a challenge. It’s good to have an intense game early on. It’s not something that we’re used to but I think it’s going to help us in the long run. ”


On defending the perimeter:
“You want to defend. They were making some tough shots and getting some open looks early on. They’re pretty well balanced on the perimeter and they’ve got good players. ”


Quoting Pitt junior guard Ashton Gibbs


On the game:
“They’re a good team. They played us tough. They came out hungry for it and we didn’t really come out that way and it showed. In the end we were able to make some big shots and get the win.”


On the momentum going into halftime:
“Basketball is a game that is about momentum and we were able to get some of it going toward the end of the first half. We came out and carried that momentum into the second half with Brad making some big shots for us down the stretch”


On playing a first tough game:
“We’re always up for a challenge. That what coach expects of us and those are the type of players we recruit. We all need to keep taking on those challenges and playing hard and executing. It doesn’t matter what we’re ranked, we need to come out every game, hungry.”


Quoting Pitt redshirt freshman forward Talib Zanna


On his experience:
“It was a great experience for me.  I came out and did what I do best, grabbed some rebounds for my team. We just need to keep playing better and be ready to play on Wednesday.”


Quoting Rhode Island Head Coach Jim Baron

Opening statement: 
“It’s great to come back to western Pennsylvania. Pitt has really turned itself into a great program. Tonight, I thought we fought the fight. We wanted to up tempo them, we wanted to push the pace. Obviously the fouls really hurt us. I mean, we were right there. It seemed like we’d get closer and closer and every time they’d put two more on the scoreboard.”


On possibly pulling back the pressure defense with foul trouble:
“No, no we wanted to continue to attack. We wanted to attack the bucket. We did force 17 turnovers. We just had some costly fouls.”


On the play of Nikola Malesevic:
“He’s just gotten better. Our young guys had to step it up tonight and Nick did a wonderful job shooting the ball and Danny West had 10 assists.”


On his team’s play late in the game:
“We had some costly turnovers, but we wanted to play aggressive. We practice the lob passes that were costing us turnovers but we wanted to push the pace and sometimes that comes with the territory.”


Quoting Rhode Island guard Delroy Jones

On the effect injuries played on tonight’s game:
“You can’t worry about injuries, you just have to play hard. You have go out there work hard and fight.”

On three point shooting:
“You have to take what they give you and the three pointers were just falling down tonight.”

On players stepping up due to injuries:
“You can’t worry about the injuries. Other guys have to step up and play. We’ve just got to learn from this and move forward.”

On the late first-half run by Pitt:
“We knew we had the second half so we knew the game wasn’t over, but that was a key part of the game when they finished the half with that dunk to put them up one.”

On possession after hitting a long three and not getting the ball:
“The person (Akeem Richmond) that shot it then made all the threes in the first half. So I’d let him take that shot any day.”


Post-Game Quotesheet

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