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Nov. 11, 2011

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No. 10 Pitt vs. Albany, November 11, 2011

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening Statement:

“Albany is a team that we expect to be at the top of their league.  They are a team that is well coached and have some experience, so I think they are going to be very good.  We came out offensively very well for our first game. There are some things we can obviously improve on.  I think defensively some good things early, a few too many layups in transition and they shot 43 percent which is something we want to keep lower than that.  We’ll learn from it, we made some adjustments, our young guys got better as the game went on, a lot of good things.”

On Tray Woodall’s performance:

“Tray played very well and Ashton played very well. We talked to Tray about his rebounding and he had six rebounds.  That was really the most encouraging thing.  He’s practiced really well; he’s practiced the last two days very well and I talked to him today about it.  He just played really patiently and 13 shots, all good shots, all wide-open looks and just let things come to him.”

On J.J. Moore’s absence:

“J.J. Moore was obviously out.  We appealed it; we appealed it again, pretty much up until tipoff.  We thought we had a good case and the NCAA heard our case.  We just thought it was a summer league.  I wouldn’t even call it a summer league; it was an 18 to 60 year olds game playing not using uniforms or a scorebook.  That’s all it was.”

On Malcolm Gilbert:

“Malcolm fractured his finger yesterday in practice.  He could probably have gone, but we want to give it another day and figure it out after that.”

On Pitt’s frontcourt:

“I really like our front court.  I think they do a great job in a lot of areas.  They are very versatile.  We don’t have that one big guy, but yet we have a lot of good length, mobility and good skills that continue to improve.  My hope is that there is much improvement in the coming months out of those guys.”

Quoting Pitt’s Tray Woodall

On his play tonight:

“It felt good.  I’ve been working on my shot because I know a lot guys will be keying in on Ashton.  I have to be ready to knock down shots and I did that tonight.”

Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs

On distributing the ball:

“I was taking what the defense gave me.  I was penetrating and dishing, they knocked down shots so give credit to my teammates.  At the end of the day, I did a little bit of work but they made the shots.”

On the younger player’s progression:

“They played well (and) they played hard at the end of the day.  When you play hard the game is going to come to you.  John (Johnson) got a couple of easy baskets and so did the other guys.  I expect big things from them.  They work hard and they listen, so the sky’s the limit for them when you work hard and listen.  I expect a big year out of them.”

On the perimeter play of the team:

“It was one of those games where we took what the defense gave us and we knocked down shots.  Our big guys are really good too so don’t be surprised if our big guys have some big games as well.  They play hard on the defensive end and can finish on the offensive end.”

Quoting Pitt’s John Johnson

On his first two possessions (a steal and key three-pointer):

“I was kind of nervous but once you make your first shot all your nerves go away, especially when you have guys like Tray (Woodall) and Ashton (Gibbs), they give you confidence on the court.”

On getting more minutes:

“I was surprised but Coach Dixon plays the guys that work hard in practice and I’ve been working hard in practice.”

Quoting Albany Head Coach Will Brown

Opening Statement:

“I thought Pitt did a terrific job. Halfway through that game I thought Ashton Gibbs was wearing number one the way Tray Woodall shot the ball. We didn’t play great defense in our two scrimmages, giving up 47 in one half and 42 in the other to two teams that made the NCAA tournament. The end result was good in those scrimmages, however if you give up 47 points in a half to a team like Pitt its game over. We thought that if we did a decent job on Ashton Gibbs in this game that we would be okay. We believed that Pitt would need some time to find that second scorer. We thought the second scorer would be Lamar Patterson, however tonight it was Tray Woodall. We got their offense going early with some defensive break downs and they got confident and stepped up and made some shots.”

On Positives in the Game:

“I thought in the second half our defense was much better than it was in the first half. It is tough to evaluate my team right now. Luke Devlin is a key part of what we do and he was out for four months with back surgery and has only practiced for three weeks. Today, he had two points and two rebounds, last year he averaged 10 points and eight rebounds per game. John Puk was in a boot for four months and then two days ago he had an infection in his shin, and we didn’t believe he was going to play. We limited him to thirty minutes and he couldn’t run. It is tough for me to evaluate our group as a whole because those two guys are a key to what we do. We got rattled early which surprises me, and I think Pitt just did a good job. This is the opener and they don’t lose in the Peterson Events Center.”

On Scouting Tray Woodall:

“You have to look at last season because this is the first time he has the ball in his hands as the full-time point guard. He had a great high school career at St. Anthony’s under a great coach in Bob Hurley. I saw the kid a ton on the AAU circuit and I know the kid can play. The one thing he has never been is a consistent perimeter shooter. If you read the articles, he took or made a couple hundred three pointers every day in the summer. I believe that it is easier to make them in the gym in the summer than it is in the game, so you have to give him a lot of credit. Ten assists from Tray Woodall did not surprise me, however the 25 points and the 5-for-7 from three - that does surprise me. I am sure Jamie Dixon is happy that Tray Woodall came out and 9-of-13 from three, I just hope he does that Monday so I don’t feel so bad.”

On giving Pitt the outside shot:

“We wanted them all to shoot the ball on the perimeter minus Ashton Gibbs. The problem with Ashton Gibbs is that people do not think he can create his own shot. I think that is ridiculous, he is preseason (Big East) player of the year. If all he can do is standstill and make set shots then he wouldn’t be preseason player of the year. We didn’t want to let Tray Woodall get in the lane and we didn’t want Lamar Patterson to hurt us posting up. We believed we could do a solid job on their big men. We were worried about their big men on the glass.. When they shoot the ball that well they get extended and now they can attack of the dribble, and the big men become effective."

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