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Dec. 18, 2008

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Siena at Pitt, December 18, 2008, Petersen Events Center


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon:


Opening Statement:


“We played a very good team tonight. Siena is an experienced, talented group that’s the favorite to win their conference for a reason. I thought it was a really good game for our guys to play, just because of the looks they show you on defense and how they make you work for 40 minutes.  I thought we played pretty well tonight. It wasn’t a complete game, but you get 25 assists and just seven turnovers, those are numbers that coaches dream of.  I was really impressed with how we came out in the second half. I thought that really set the tone for the rest of the game.”


On playing against Siena’s zone:


“We never really got on track shooting the ball. It didn’t fall from three for us, and we missed some mid-range jumpers we usually make. As a team though, you want to prepare for nights like this. You don’t want to be good at one thing, you want to be good at everything.  I thought our offensive rebounding really gave us a spark against the zone, particularly when we were trying to maintain our lead. “


On DeJuan Blair’s offensive rebounding:


“He’s got a gift for it, without a doubt. You could coach guys all day everyday and they would never be as good at it as he is. His hands, his width, his tenacity are all things that are innate for him. He’s worked very hard to get better too, both at taking his time when he goes back up with a rebound, but particularly with his outlet passing. With the way DeJuan rebounds and the rest of his skill set, we think making that outlet pass is something he can be great at.”


On Tyrell Biggs’ play:


“He’s always been a good shooter, but I think he’s getting more minutes now and he’s more comfortable when he’s out on the floor. The one area that I really think has come a long way is his leadership. We lean very heavily on our seniors to be good leaders and Sam Young, Levance Fields and Tyrell Biggs have all embraced that role. It’s been great as a coach to watch them grow and to continue to grow, which they’ll have to do if we’re going to reach our potential.”


Quoting Pitt’s DeJuan Blair:


On his play:


“I expect to have a big game every time I step on the floor. I actually was a little bit dry from the floor early on, but it seemed about midway through the first half that everything started clicking for me. My mentality is to keep fighting and that’s what I did the whole game.”


On Pitt’s second half start:


“I thought we responded really well at the start of the second half. They hit two three-pointers right before the half to kind of get back in the game, so we wanted to take it to them.  We had some ups and downs tonight, which we need to correct, but I think we’ll get better if we just keep playing as a team.”


Quoting Pitt’s Tyrell Biggs:


On his outside shooting:


“It’s just repetition. When I have an opening like that, I want to be able to step up and drill the shot with confidence and without thinking twice. I’ve been working on my shot a lot in practice and after games, so it’s nice to see that paying off.”


Quoting Pitt’s Bran Wannamaker:


On playing Siena’s zone:


“We had a good strategy coming in. Coach Dixon told us before the game that if we just stayed patient and calm and ran our plays, that we’d be fine. I think we played a little bit too fast in the first half and that hurt us a bit. But we came out refocused to start the second half and I think the results speak for themselves.”


Quoting Siena Head Coach Fran McCaffery:


Opening statement:


“I think that on film that Pitt is one of the best teams on our schedule.  But we played them very competitively. They have a lot of weapons.  DeJuan Blair is one of the best post players I’ve seen.  Even when Pitt isn’t shooting the ball very well, like tonight, he still hurts you in so many ways.  He gets the ball back.  If Pitt misses a free throw, it seems as if he gets the rebound.  But this is a good team.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the Final Four.”


On DeJuan Blair:


“He can dribble, pass, he has a good touch, he can take the jump shot, and he seems to make the soft shot where other players miss.  He has an incredible sense of where he is on the floor.  He gets to where he needs to be in order to get the shot off.  He’s the best at it.  No matter who Pitt plays, DeJuan is guaranteed to have a double-double.”


On Pitt:


“Pitt has a senior point guard, that doesn’t get rattled. They have a first round draft pick in Sam Young.  They have depth in their bench and they have a lot of good young players that will develop.  Pitt has talent and they’re experienced.  In the beginning we pressed a little, but they didn’t get rattled.  It’s tough to come in here on the road and compete with a team like that.  They can rebound. I think their win is a credit for their defense.  In the beginning, we couldn’t score. We had their best players out there and it’s because of their defense.  They shot 45 percent and they’re able to overcome that because of their defense.  A championship team simply stops people.”

Post-Game Quotesheet

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