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Nov. 9, 2012

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Mount St. Mary’s at Pitt, Petersen Events Center, November 9, 2012

Pitt 80, Mount St. Mary’s 48

Quoting Pitt Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening Statement:

“For the first game I thought we played really hard, probably an entertaining game for people watching. Lots of energy, terrific for both teams. They played small which was an adjustment for us. It usually is in the preseason when you play some teams. Obviously we knew they were going to shoot some three’s, we figured that they would play like VCU, so we watched some tape of them last year. Lot of three’s played real small, sometimes had four guards out there. I thought we guarded pretty well in the beginning, they hit some three’s obviously and kept it close, but we continued staying with it and I thought we got a little better at contesting shots. We had to adjust to their speed, to their quickness and their deep range. We talked about it, we saw it coming. We had to guard the ball screens. Rotations, we have to get better at that. It was good to see it on film for our guys, as far as guarding the ball screens. A lot of good things, talk about offensively you can’t do much better than that. 71 percent, only eight turnovers rebounded half of our misses, that’s pretty efficient offensively. Some really good things on that end.  As far as guys individually, I thought Lamar (Patterson) was really solid at the end, thought he was really unselfish and made some nice plays. He didn’t look for himself and that was big. I thought we were really unselfish, even with the big lead, hopefully a sign of things going forward. Steve (Adams) and Talib (Zanna) gave us good presence inside. Dante (Taylor) got in some foul trouble and never really got going, but he’s been playing really well and I’m excited about him. I thought Tray (Woodall) and James (Robinson) played really well and (Trey) Zeigler gave us good minutes. Thought we played really solid. Still trying to figure out a couple of guys. Chris (Jones) I think we’re going to redshirt at this point, Aron (Nwankwo) same thing. Duron (Johnson) and John (Johnson) had a sickness and weren’t able to go. I think they’ll be ready to go tomorrow and I’m looking forward to having them out there. Mike (Lecak) is a redshirt as a transfer, so we only had nine guys that we could really put in there. I was looking for guys to put in at the end, but didn’t have anyone to put in. We’ll have everyone out there tomorrow and we’ll have a good practice before we go against Fordham.”

On Cameron Wright playing following the passing of his father from brain cancer:

“It’s been a year and a half, I remember when he called me and told me he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and it’s been an unbelievable tough time for the family. When I talked to him he said he wanted to play, his mom said he wanted to play, and his dad would’ve wanted him to play. It’s tough, the players rallied around him. He’s been playing well. You kind of sensed it the last couple of days that there was something. Talked to him a couple of times, he never really talked about it much. I thought he played really well, the numbers he had eight points and three rebounds, but I thought he got open and did some really good things defensively. He’s had some really good practices these last couple of weeks and he’s going to be a real good player for us. Can’t say enough, he wanted to do it for his dad and I told him afterwards that his dad is very proud of him.”

On what adjustments he made after Mt. Saint Mary’s started the game 6-of-8 from three:

“I don’t know, we were doing the same things. I said ball pressures need to get better, a little bit better hedging the ball screen. There was a flare that we didn’t guard the right way, didn’t guard it how we usually do. They scored in different ways. They made some tough shots, some deep threes. I would say we tightened up. I wouldn’t say we did anything different per say, but we tried to do better at what we came in trying to do. Maybe were surprised at how quick and how deep they were going to shoot. We talked about it, but we couldn’t even show them on film because we didn’t have any film on them from this year. We talked about and it seemed like more of their shots were guarded in the second half. I think we learned as the game went along and I don’t know if it was adjustment as much on our end.”

On playing against the press:

“It’s hard to play against it at any time, but especially when it’s the first game. We knew they were going to probably do it, so we practiced for a while on it. Started early on it as far as playing against it. I thought the best thing we did was decisions on the back end. Usually that’s where you run in to trouble. You don’t get a lot of turnovers in the front court once you get across. Our shot selection once we got across, we got lay-ups, we didn’t settle for threes. It was all of our guys. We made simple plays, simple passes and attacked when it was there.”

Quoting senior guard Tray Woodall

On what the Panthers did offensively in setting a school field goal percentage record:

“We were moving the ball around, obviously Talib (Zanna) went 10-for-12 and he got a lot of layups inside. We didn’t want to settle for three’s (3-pointers), we shot one-for-six and I shot four three’s. We didn’t want to settle for jump shots, we wanted to make sure we could get to the basket. We’ve got big guys inside who can finish, we’ve got guards that can attack it to the basket, (and) we’ve got athletic players, so we didn’t want to settle and we knew we could get lay-ups. Once we got them early, we were confident we could get them at the end.”

On the team finishing 20-0 on fast break points:

“It’s something that we definitely work on in practice. We wanted to stop them in transition, obviously, and we wanted everybody to get back, communicate and match up. As far as on the offensive end, having two point guards out there, myself and James (Robinson), we wanted to get out and run. We wanted to make sure we made smart decisions and also get guys lay-ups and shots, and that’s something that we emphasize too. We wanted to pressure the ball a little more and also wanted to get out and run a little more.”

On the Panthers offense:

“We just wanted to take what the defense gave us and they closed out on us pretty hard. They were trying to guard us pretty tight, so we just tried to take what the defense gave us and they gave us driving opportunities, so we just took that. We got to the basket on numerous occasions and tried to dump off to our bigs to make sure our bigs were happy inside, and we got them a couple of easy lay-ups.”

On adjusting to the Mountaineers’ full-court pressure:

“We were prepared for that. Coach (Jamie Dixon) told us about how their coach was from VCU and how VCU pressured, and I’m glad we got to it early. Teams like Louisville will do that so we want to be prepared for that. I’m glad we emphasized that early on pressing. We did a good job today and I was happy to see James (Robinson) doing a great job too, just going out there and handling that pressure.”

On the conditioning of Pitt’s frontcourt:

“It’s great. We did a lot of off-season training and a lot of conditioning this off-season, and our bigs were, a lot of times, up front with the guards. It was great to see those guys definitely translating that over to the games and it’s great to see guys get out and run. We want to reward our big men once they run the floor. It’s just rewarding having those guys able to run. It’s making our job a lot easier.”

Quoting sophomore guard Cameron Wright

On competing in practice for a chance to get minutes during games:

“Every day we just go into practice with the mindset of making each other better. Once game-time comes we put all our trust into the coaching staff and they make the best decision for the team. We’re all a brotherhood and whatever the coaches have in mind, we’re all for it.”

On his level of comfort now in his third year with the Panthers:

“Going into my third year, you know, two on the court, I’m extremely comfortable. Just learning my redshirt year from Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown, learning from (Tray) Woodall, of course, and (Ashton Gibbs), I’ve been prepared. It’s time for me to get out there.”

Quoting junior forward Talib Zanna

On his game plan for getting himself set up for baskets:

“The guys did pretty good passing the ball. We just came out focused and ready to go.”

Quoting Mount St. Mary’s Coach Jamion Christian

On how the team played in the first 11 minutes:

“I’m really pleased with how our guys played in the first 11 minutes of the game. I think that’s just a small microcosm of what you’re going to see through the duration of the year.”

On playing Pitt:

“I think it was a great game for us to open with because to beat a team like Pitt, you’re not only going to have to play pretty well, you really have to play together. When you’re trying to build a program like we are, you want to play teams like that to use as an example for what you want to become.”

On his team shooting 6-of-8 from three-point range to open the game:

“Every time I call a player over there, I think it’s going to go in. I was disappointed it was 6-of-8. I thought we should be 8-8.”

On how the performance changed after the first 11 minutes:

“We just turned the ball over. In any game, you can’t afford to turn the ball over. If you do, you hope to deflect a pass out of bounds. We had a couple live ball turnovers. We didn’t stick to the plan that we had set out for our guys for a few minutes. In games like this, it can get away from you.”

On Talib Zanna’s improvement during his Pitt career:

“He looks unbelievable. I’ve seen him play since he was a junior in high school, so I’m pleased for him because he’s really starting to become the player we all thought he could be.”

Post Game Quotesheet

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