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Nov. 27, 2012

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Howard at Pitt, Petersen Events Center, November 27, 2012, Pitt 70, Howard 46

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening Statement:

“Howard just kept battling, playing and I thought they set the tempo of the game with the zone and slowed us down.  We played better in the second half obviously.  Our defense was better.  We gave up too many layups in the first half.  Second half we made them take jump shots. There was improvement first half to second half but I give them credit.  They are quick.  They played with their smaller guys and we had trouble keeping them in front of us at time. It’s something we will learn from.  They kept battling.  The rebounding really stands out. We have been out-rebounded three games in the row.  We started out the year with pretty high numbers rebounding wise.  It’s something that should be a strength of ours but isn’t right now.  We spent two days addressing it but it isn’t getting done.  That’s where we are at right now.  We are forcing turnovers.  I think that has something to do with it.  That’s less possessions to rebound.  That’s having something to do with it.  It’s something we have to get better at.  There are too many that are hitting our hands that we aren’t getting.  It’s disappointing.  That’s the real thing that stands out for us. We did a good job passing the ball.  We are really playing unselfish even with a big lead once again.  We are getting guys shots.  We had low turnovers again.  Our numbers are low again in those areas.  We did a lot of good things.  We have to do better attacking the zone.  They ran all their zones at us.  It was good.  It was soft.  They wanted us to shoot threes.  We did a good job of that. That’s where we are.  Durand (Johnson) was out with a hamstring.  He was hurt the last couple of days.  He didn’t practice yesterday and couldn’t go today.  Trey Zeigler is suspended until further notice until administration figures that out. That’s where we are with those two situations.”

On Pitt’s inside game:

“Howard was packing it in.  You can do all you want and say all the different things but if a team is packing it in, it’s going to be harder to get touches, to get scores and get the ball to big guys.  Everybody is going to say why didn’t you do this and why didn’t you do that. At the end of the day if a team’s really packing it in like Howard was doing you are going to give up things.  We have to get more put backs, offensive rebounds against the zone.  That’s something you need to get and we aren’t getting enough put backs.  That’s something we have to get better at.  We have to get better at our interior touches and that is our biggest thing against the zone.  We just aren’t active enough.”

On the play of Lamar Patterson:

“I know a lot of guys probably gave up on him after four games with his scoring but that’s the nature of the business.  He was practicing really well.  He had some games where we had some big leads and didn’t look to score much but didn’t finish on some plays.  He’s playing well and has played well.  I think his defensive has improved since last year.  His shot selection has been good and he’s passing the ball well.  He’s playing some good minutes with Durand (Johnson) not being able to go but I thought he played really well.  He’s been rebounding really well but came up a little short today with two.”

On Pitt’s three point shooting:

“James (Robinson) is a good shooter, Tray (Woodall) is a good shooter when he takes good shots, Lamar (Patterson) is back to where we thought.  We are taking good shots.  We are moving the ball.  The assist and turnovers are a reflection of our ball movement and our unselfishness.  I wouldn’t call us the greatest shooting team but the most important thing percentage wise is taking good shots and we are doing a good job of attacking that.  Offensively we need to get more put backs against the zone. That’s what we have always done.  We have hurt zones with offensive rebounding. It sounds like it happens by accident. Many people may look at it that way but when you do it year after year and you do it as good as we have, it’s by design, execution and attack. That’s something we have to get better at.  With a good shot comes the opportunity to get a good offensive rebounding position. That’s where we have to improve.”

Quoting Pitt forward Talib Zanna

On Pitt’s offensive adjustment in the second half:

“First half we came out flat-footed. Second half we were focused and we got the win.”

On Howard’s stay back three-two zone:

“It was wide open and we found the right spot.  James (Robinson) got a lot of people open shots and that’s how we got the lead.”

Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson

On Pitt’s defense second half:

“In the first half we gave up open drives which lead to weak side boards.  It put our big men at a disadvantage. In the second half we tried to play more solid on the defense end by closing up the gaps and not allow driving lanes.”

Quoting Pitt forward Lamar Patterson

On his individual success:

“I’m just shooting it.  I’m building some confidence.  It’s just dropping. I have been working hard in practice and it is just translating into the game.”

On whether Pitt can be a good three-point shooting team:

“I think we can.  We have shooters all over the floor.  I definitely feel we can be a good three-point shooting team.”

On the importance of passing:

“If you hit the guy on time, it raises the percentage of the shot.  We practice driving and kicking.”

Quoting Howard Head Coach Kevin Nickelberry

On the first half:

“We have two starters out for the year and our best player didn’t play tonight. It’s tough because we have been playing a lot of sophomores. My hat goes off to Jamie Dixon. We wanted to control the paint and we thought we could. We wanted to make them make eight or nine passes and make them think a little bit in order to make the paint look unavailable. On other hand, we also wanted to attack the paint with the dribble to see if we could create a mismatch with Mike Phillips on some of their bigger guys. In the first half we outscored them in the paint. Jamie Dixon did a great job in creating some foul trouble.”

On zone play in the second:

“Foul trouble. They shot 18 free throws and we shot three. That doesn’t happen often and when both of your starting centers and back-up have four fouls means you can’t be as aggressive. The difference was the free throws.”

On out-rebounding Pitt:

“We are a tough physical team and we thought we could rebound with them. We were a little worried about their penetration ability. They got in the paint and made more shots where we couldn’t. It’s good experience and this venue has always been a tough place to play in. Jamie Dixon’s team has always been tough to play. Tonight is something to build off of for our first league game Saturday.”

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