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Post-Game Quotesheet




Dec. 3, 2013

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POST-GAME QUOTESHEET

Penn State at Pitt, Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Petersen Events Center, December 3, 2013

Pitt 78, Penn State 69

Quoting Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening statement:

“It wasn’t a good first half for us. I spent the whole halftime emphasizing the number of assists that we had at halftime, and three is not a good number for us. Sometimes stats don’t lie, and that certainly was it. We were just impatient and didn’t let things come. I think the guy who was actually patient was Talib (Zanna), and other than that we were forcing stuff and trying to make plays more than we needed to. We didn’t play well but I’m fortunate that we got a good win. It’s a good team. I think that (D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier), I don’t know that there’s two better, two older, guards than them. They’re experienced, they’ve played a lot of minutes, they’ve been through a lot and Frazier, I’ve talked to some NBA scouts in the last couple of days and they think he’s really, really good. You’re talking about a fifth-year guy that’s probably played every minute of those four years. He’s good. But once we got going in the second half, we did what we wanted to do. We thought we could get lay-ups against them. We thought we could drive it and get in the lane. I thought we still got too many jump shots, but we recognized it and played through it and did good things. They made free throws. That kept them on us. We put them at the line too much, but at the end of the day, I thought us going small was helpful and we still out-rebounded them by a pretty good margin too, by 12. Low turnovers, high rebound margin, we shot it well in the second half, and we should’ve played better in the first half.”

On how well center Talib Zanna played defensively:

“We really wanted him to get off on the ball more, and with the way they play, they spread you, drive you and their five-man is not their biggest scorer. We wanted to get him to be more of a help-side defender and guard the ball screens at the same time. He did a good job and stayed out of foul trouble. Our other guys were in foul trouble obviously in the first half with Cameron (Wright) and James (Robinson). That was a challenge that we had to fight through and I thought we handled it well because Josh (Newkirk) played so well, so steady for us. It was interesting because I think Josh is our quickest guy, our fastest guy, but I thought he actually slowed us down. Usually we have to slow him down, but he slowed us down and I thought he made us play more patient. But Talib did a great job and we had a lot of freshmen play well.”

On forward Lamar Patterson and Zanna’s play in the second half:

“In the second half we were much better. (Penn State) trapped and blitzed as we called the ball screens on Lamar and he didn’t handle it well early. He was trying to make a play when all he had to do was make a pass, but he got better in the second half. I thought Talib was really good the whole game as far as just being patient and letting the ball come to him. I thought they’d dig down in the post a little bit more but they really left him out on an island, and that’s why he was 7-for-11 from the foul line. He did a great job but we need to do that more throughout the entire game, getting the ball inside.”

On if he would like to see the Pitt vs. Penn State game continue: 

“Yes, but there’s like 50 games I’d like to see continue. They just don’t allow us to play that many games. You can’t do everything, but it’s good for everybody, but now we’re in the ACC so you don’t know if you’re going to play them or when you’re going to play them. It’s good, but we play a lot of good teams, and whomever we don’t play, they talk about why don’t we play them. It’s the usual.”

On Zanna’s development as a player:

“He is an emotional kid. He plays hard and he plays with a lot of energy. Patience is something we want him to continue to develop and grow with. I thought he was good in the post. He was real patience and let things happen, and he made some nice passes out of the post too. Again, it was something we need to do early more often in the first half.”

On Penn State getting into foul trouble: 

“In the first half, we missed a lot of lay-ups and even in the second half we missed lay-ups. Lamar (Patterson) misses two and Cameron missed one, and we didn’t play well. But we fought through it and made free throws, followed what we wanted to do defensively. (Penn State) is small and we had to attack them inside. They’re going to get in foul trouble with the way they play and we’re a hard team to zone, so they probably didn’t want to zone us too much. I thought they’d double-down more but they didn’t, and so that isolated them in the post. You’re going to get fouls and you’ve got to make decisions with what you’re going to do. We’re a good three-point shooting team so it doesn’t make it hard for us for teams that double us. We’re a pretty well balanced team. I looked again yesterday at the offensive efficiency and we’re one of the best in the country. There’s a reason why we’ve got good balance inside and out, but if you’re not patient that efficiency disappears, and it did in the first half.”

On guard James Robinson’s foul trouble:

“He just fought through it. He didn’t shoot it great, but got some lay-ups and defended well. It’s hard to play when you get fouls early, and he did. He was patient and he makes everyone better out there and that is not changing.”

On his opinion if Penn State should be taken seriously as a team: 

“I considered them a good team when they beat St. Johns. They should have beat Ole Miss and they probably have to get over that hump. I can’t speak to what they think or how they view themselves. We made it very clear that we thought this was definitely the best team and best guards we have played. I don’t know if we will play against better guards.”\

On what Pitt did to shut down Penn State’s offense:

“In the beginning of the game they came out very strong. They hit a lot of shots and we weren’t getting stops.  We have a great coaching staff and they adjusted. The 2-3 zone worked for us in our favor and we stuck with it.”

On scrappy shooting in the second half:

“We scrapped it yesterday and the day before too. We just didn’t listen in the first half.  We were impatient and wanted it to come easy. This team is very good offensively. We are not mistake free and not perfect. We have to play through emotions and crowds, those are the challenges.  It’s a constant challenge every day. We have got to attack and get layups.”

On freshmen getting to experience a come-from-behind situation:

“It was good. I think Josh was tremendous. You talk about playing solid basketball and he was good. He was steady. Josh is one of the fastest guys and we’ve spent a lot of time slowing him down and he was the guy that slowed us down on offense today.  He attacked a lot and got in the lane. I thought he was really good. We kept him in there because of that.”

Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson 

On his performance down the stretch:

“I was in foul trouble for the majority of the game. When I got back in, I really just tried to bring some energy.  Talib [Zanna] and Lamar [Patterson] both did a great job of putting us on their backs tonight. I just tried to give the team whatever I had. [Patterson] did a great job finding me on the break.”

On battling foul trouble:

“I think Josh [Newkirk] did a great job of stepping in.  He really contributed tonight, and that’s something we really need from him the next couple games.”

On Zanna and Patterson putting team on their backs 

“They brought more energy than we had to begin. We came out flat. Zanna used his energy on both ends of the court. Patterson and his playmaking helped the team rally around them.”

Quoting Pitt forward Talib Zanna 

On the adjustment they made in the second half:

“In the first half, we tried to force a lot of shots. The second half we came in and changed some principles. They weren’t small so we had to adjust some things. The paint was wide open, I had to just go.”

On the difference in second half:

“I was just trying to be patient and to see what they are playing. They were trying to double team me sometimes. To see the mismatch I had James and the guards put the ball inside for me.”

Quoting Penn State Head Coach Patrick Chambers

On defensive changes in the second half:

“We needed to adjust to the way it was being called. We gave up 50 points but they shot 21 free throws. Again we are failing at the end so it might look inflated but no we didn’t do anything differently. We were trying to be in our gaps but they made some good drives and some tough calls went against us. That’s what happens on the road.”

On the impact that Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson had on the game:

“Talib was great. He did what he was supposed to do. Lamar hit a huge three that really helped them [Pitt] out and gave them some energy. Talib played really well. Jamie [Dixon] did a really did a great job of developing him. He looks terrific. I recruited him when I was at Villanova. He has gotten a lot better.”

On making this game annual:

“Coach [Dixon] and I have talked about it and we are going to try to work it out. This was a Big 10 /ACC challenge but we are going to try to do something to keep the series going.”

On his guards DJ Newbill and Tim Fraizer:

“We have great guards and great leadership. These guys have a great locker room. They continue to get better. They understand leadership is an everyday thing, every practice thing, every weight room thing and every film session. When you have two guys that you can trust on the floor it makes your job easier and makes you look like a better coach. Trust me when it comes to these two guys to my left [DJ Newbill, Tim Frazier] but we will learn from this and get better.”

Quoting Penn State guard Tim Frazier:

On if there was one possession that let the game slip away:

“Our hats go off to Pittsburgh; they made tough plays and got a lot of and-one baskets that pushed them up. Those plays helped them down the stretch and we needed to come out and make plays late.”

On if their team is close to learning how to make those game-winning plays:

“Definitely. We showed it in other games where we made those game-winning plays. If you look at the game against St. John’s we did it and even throughout this game we were able to make some game-winning plays as well, but those times when we needed it most, we didn’t.”

On being down for the first time at half this season:

“We came out knowing that we should have been in the lead, we executed in the first half and once again, our hats go off to Pittsburgh. Their players and their coaches deserve credit for fighting through and making game-winning plays down the stretch.”

Quoting Penn State guard DJ Newbill:

On this team playing with previously unseen toughness:

“That is our team identity. We are a bunch of tough, nasty, gritty guys because that’s the way coach teaches us. We came in with the attitude that we are ready to go for a forty minute battle and fight with those guys. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

On playing in a hostile environment like the Petersen Events Center:

“Man, we’re used to big crowds. We play in the Big Ten with teams like Indiana and Michigan who have great crowds, so we are kind of used to playing in a hostile environment.”