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Post-Game Quotesheet




Nov. 20, 2013

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POST-GAME QUOTESHEET

Lehigh at Pitt • Petersen Events Center • November 17, 2013

Pitt 77, Lehigh 58

 

Quoting Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon

Opening statement:

“We played good, solid defense in the first half. Obviously we got off to a good start and really took advantage of a team that’s done well and that’s been on the road for a little bit. I think you’re going to see them win a lot of games. Some really good things started with James (Robinson) and started with Lamar (Patterson). Every game we’ve got Lamar giving other guys shots to start the game. Everybody knows we’ve had unselfish players year-in and year-out and we continue to do so. Our track record and dramatic numbers speak to that and I thought tonight was great evidence of it. We’ve been pretty consistent with playing good basketball.”

 

On center Talib Zanna scoring eight of the Panthers’ first 12 points:

“We talked about how they were going to go to the ball screen and so we thought that he would be open on rolls, and we did one against the blind side. We did want to go inside-out on the ball screen and we recognized that they were probably going to be digging down for us to throw it back out, which we did a great job with. We wanted to go inside out, whether it is penetration, inside-post touches, and then even the ball screens. We had success against them last year on some sets and we carried it over to this year on how they guard us. It was good to see him play well and he’s been pretty consistent every night out. We got good production out of him and obviously a lot of rebounds too. We outrebounded them by 23. It’s what we’ve been doing but you want to stay there every night and not take it for granted.”

 

On the spark sophomore Durand Johnson provided off the bench:

“In a lot of those cases, it’s a guy making an extra pass and him being in the right spot knocking down the shot. Again, I think our execution was really good and all those shots had assists. It starts with the ball screen and it starts with penetration. The great thing about Durand is he’s doing other things. He got us five rebounds and only had one assist, but I think he was involved in a lot of passes that we didn’t take shots on. He’s doing a good job. He’s a sophomore that’s gotten better. That’s what we’ve seen in our program and I think he’s a great example of that.”

 

On freshman Josh Newkirk being the first Panther off the bench tonight:

“I think with James (Robinson) getting the foul and the media timeout coming right afterwards and we were going to be on defense, that was the thought process behind that. Durand’s usually our guy and we got him in right after that. That was the thinking on that, those three things that I mentioned. I do want to get Josh in there playing with the other four guys, playing with experienced guys. I do that with some of the other guys too as well.”

 

On what he hopes to get out of the small forward position:

“Right now we’re playing those three guys—Cameron (Wright), Lamar (Patterson) and Durand (Johnson). We’ve switched Lamar over and I guess we’ve played Cameron at some point guard too. I’ve said all along that I think we’ve got really good wings. Clearly we’re more experienced, more skilled and we’re just better at the two and three than we have been in a few years. It’s good to see. They’ve all improved a lot and that’s a nice thing.”

 

On if he’s gotten what he’s wanted out of the team through four games:

“You like to build. We’ve obviously been up big early in each game and that’s not easy to do. We’ve made it look easy but it’s not. We’ve made it look easy these first four games but we’d like to finish and double the score when you have a good margin in the second half. It’s really hard to do.”

 

On freshman Jamel Artis’ offensive performance:

“He’s catching it and shooting it and it starts with the pass and the execution. We practiced that every day and he’s a great fit for what we do there. I think he’s got some great tools in that regard. It was good to see. I think he’s very skilled and he’s getting better and becoming a better athlete with his body and conditioning. He’s going to be a good player. He’s a freshman and he’s been productive as a freshman.”

 

On the will to sustain momentum for 40 minutes each game:

“We’ve had our patterns doing it. There have been a couple games when we’ve outscored the opponent but not doubled the score, and that’s a good problem to have. We would like to play well every minute, and that’s not going to happen, but you’re striving to do so. We didn’t get selfish. We just rotated guys in there and maybe that takes us out of our rhythm. You want to keep guys healthy and you want to give guys opportunities at the same time. We know a lot of guys are doing good things and getting better because of it. We got better in the second half in some areas but it didn’t show with what we were doing with some guys. I take responsibility for that and I think I could have kept us more aggressive.”

 

On junior Aron Nwanwko getting playing time in the first half:

“I think he just does things right and I think our guys know that. Our guys respect him and we respect him and when he was in there we made some plays. He gets the rebound and does what he’s supposed to do defensively. Maybe I should’ve played him more in the second half, but he does a lot of good things for us.”

 

Quoting Pitt forward Talib Zanna

On coming up quick in the first half, especially in the first four games of the season:

“We are more aggressive in the first, we were doing everything right and we executed plays. Second half we kind of came out slow, early in the game we picked up the pace. Lamar (Patterson) did a good job; Durand (Johnson) did a good job of making shots in the first half and second half.

 

On playing in an environment away from home:

“Sunday is going to be our first road trip to New York, we are playing Texas Tech. We have practice tomorrow, everyone will come out ready. We just have to be focused and put this win behind us, and move to the next play.”

 

Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson

On his 11 assists, no turnovers, and his comfort level in game vs. Lehigh

“I think we had a pretty good understanding of how they were going to rotate in terms of defending the ball screens. My guys did a great job catching the ball and finishing, I think that goes across the board for tonight. Everybody finished plays, my job was to give them the ball and let them do what they do best, score.”

 

On Durand Johnson’s three point shooting:

“Well, Durand (Johnson) and I had been talking for a while and he pretty much told me that he was going to be on tonight. He hit that first three and I knew he was going to be hot for the rest of the night. I just kept giving him the ball and he just kept coming through.”

 

Quoting Pitt forward Durand Johnson

On making his first five shots and what made tonight different:

“Last game I felt bad, I felt down on myself. I shot 0-for-4 on the three and I really felt bad on myself. I really wanted to come out tonight and be more confident and be more shot ready. My teammates found me and I was able to knock down shots.”

 

On not being the first player off the bench tonight:

“Coach Dixon is going to do what he wants to do. When your name is called just be ready. It doesn’t matter if I am the sixth man off the bench, seventh, eighth, or ninth. I just want to come out and play hard.”

 

Quoting Lehigh head coach Brett Reed

On a rough first half:

“We hope that there is learning that takes place. We are probably one of the youngest teams in college basketball at this point, and tonight we played against a Pitt team that played an excellent game. They have a physical presence to them that we have to adjust to for our interior, but yet they also were very capable of making perimeter shots. They made jump shots and continued to convert on those. Unfortunately, we were in a bit of a dry spell, which allowed the margin to exceed a little bit.”

 

On the open threes allowed:

“I think Johnson did an excellent job, and coming into this game, we knew he had potential shooting at the perimeter. We were in a difficult position, where we knew that we needed to protect our paint, and just had to pick our poison. Johnson stepped up to convert and make those open shots. Unfortunately we did not adjust in time to neutralize him.”

 

On winning the second half:

“It is a positive thing for a young team who is down to be able to respond and to recover. We were able to show a bit of character and resiliency to continue to fight even though we were in a deficit throughout the course of the game.”

 

Quoting Lehigh guard Mackey McKnight

 

On Pitt’s pressure:

“They had good coverage. Coach put us in numerous schemes that got us some good looks but we didn’t convert. It’s a long season and we get better as time goes by. I’m confident our game will continue to elevate.

 

Difference matching up against Pitt since last season:

“Last year they were pretty big and much more experienced. I still feel like they just executed really well and played great defense. I feel like they were very consistent just like last year. We didn’t come out with enough energy or play a complete 40 minutes. Once we compete fully in both halves, I think the outcome will be much different.”

 

On Pitt’s pace in comparison to last season:

“They definitely played at a faster pace. Once they got to half court, they took their time with their reads and made sure everyone was in the right spot. We just need to work on our rotations better and help each other out more to minimize their conversions.”

 

Quoting Lehigh forward Tim Kempton

 

On if this is his best game yet:

“It was a good, collective team game.  Mackey ran the point really well. I felt pretty comfortable in the post. Other than that, we played good as a team. My guards got the ball to me and Mackey fed me well.”

 

On feeling more comfortable playing basketball (as a freshman):

“Yes, as the season progressed everyone tends to get more comfortable with the game. You start playing as a team and collectively better. Everyone gets more comfortable with everyone.”

 

On going toe to toe with Pitt’s line:

“Coach Reed and all the players gave me a lot of space down low where I can work, get to the middle, and have my counters available. Doing that, it gives me a lot of space to make my moves. Coming off the screens, Mackey was able to find me a lot and that helped out also.”