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Dec. 3, 2008

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The “City Game” Pitt vs. Duquesne; December 3, 2008; Petersen Events Center


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon:


Opening Statement:


“I thought we played very hard tonight. We got a good performance from our young guys and really improved as the game went on. I thought Duquesne played really hard. Give them a lot of credit, they’re a very young team and they battled us the whole way. It was a good win for us, but as always there are areas we can improve on.  We turned the ball over too much, and I think we kind of played their game in the first half. Fortunately we were able to correct that in the second half.”


On Pitt’s second half adjustments:


“I thought our defense was much more patient in the second half. I think that kind of play really led to a lot of their turnovers, which sparked our run. We really stressed at halftime being in the right position on defense, and I thought we were able to do that. Good defensive teams are disciplined and stay with their man for the entire possession, and that’s what we have to do.”


On Jermaine Dixon’s play:


“You never know how good a player’s defense is going to be until you get him on campus, but there were some things we liked about Jermaine right away. He’s got a strong physical presence and a mental toughness that really make him a great defender. But he’s an excellent teammate too, and someone who plays very hard and sets a good example for our younger guys.”


On Pitt’s rotation:


“We have 11 guys that we need to find minutes for, so it’s going to be a challenge. Especially with Gilbert Brown back now, that’s 20-25 minutes that aren’t in play anymore. Among Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker and Travon Woodall, no one has really separated themselves yet. Each of them does some things very well and will be big contributors for Pitt this season and in the future. But right now there’s going to be a guy who gets the short end of the minutes each game.”


On DeJuan Blair’s offensive rebounding:


“I think good offensive rebounding comes from good shots. When we’re running our sets well, guys know when the shots going up and can attack the glass. But beyond that, DeJuan’s a special player who has a nose for the ball and great hands. It’s something he’s done exceptionally well from the moment he stepped on campus.”


Quoting Pitt’s DeJuan Blair:


On Pitt’s play:


“We didn’t come out like we wanted to. We started a little bit slow in the first half. Fortunately, we were able to come out with a little fire after halftime. Our goal was to turn it up right from the start, and that’s where we put the game away.”


On Pitt’s defense:


“It’s been really good so far, but there’s always room for improvement. We work really hard on this team and pride ourselves on playing good defense. Jermaine Dixon’s been a really big help to us in that regard, too. He gives us another guard that can shut his man down.”


On playing Duquesne:


“As a Pittsburgh kid, I’ve been watching Duquesne for a while. I know some of these guys from summer league so there’s a little bit of a familiarity there that makes you want to win more. I think it’s a great thing for the city.”


Quoting Pitt’s Jermaine Dixon:


On Pitt’s shooting:


“You can’t let it frustrate, especially if you’re taking good shots. The way basketball is, you can’t hit everything. You just have to let it go and focus on doing the other thing really well, and have confidence your shots will start falling.”


On Pitt’s start:


“I’m not sure why we keep coming out kind of slow. We played so well early the first few games of the season, that maybe we got a little overconfident. We have to make sure we start picking it up from the start though or that’s going to come back to bite us.”


Quoting Duquesne Head Coach Ron Everhart


On the turnovers:


“I thought that was the key of that game, for them not to score off of our turnovers.  We did that in the first half.  The second half, we can out and turned the ball over three of our first five possessions.  Pitt is very good. They are the third best team in the country for a reason. They are very technical. They execute plays well.  They turned turnovers into easy baskets and we couldn’t have that happen. The first have I think we did a good job of it, the second half, we didn’t.”


On DeJuan Blair:


“We tried to get him to guard Damian Saunders and get him away from the basket.  That happened, but he found his way back in and got a lot of rebounds.  We didn’t do as good of job as we wanted to with that.”


On Duke and Pitt:


“They are both very well coached teams.  They both play hard. They give effort in two different areas.  Pitt plays with intensity on the glass like no other.  They both run two different systems, but stuff like that jumps out.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both in the Final Four.”


On Duquesne’s play:


“We made mistakes that show that we’re young.  It’s games like this that help us learn from our mistakes.  If we want to have a good ball club in the future then we have to learn our lesson from this.  We can get the most out it and take it with us when we start playing teams in the Atlantic-10.”


Quoting Duquesne’s Damian Saunders:


On DeJuan Blair:


“He’s hard to get around.  He’s a very good player and he knows how to use his weight.”


Quoting Duquesne’s Aaron Jackson


On playing Pitt:


“They do what good teams do. The smaller teams have to do the little things in order to be good, but Pitt does them too.  They take advantage of doing the little extra things, like diving for loose balls.  We had a chance early, they were shooting the ball bad and we didn’t take advantage of that.  From there, things just went down hill.”

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