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Dec. 20, 2011

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St. Francis, Pa. at No. 15 Pitt, December 20, 2011, Petersen Events Center

No. 15 Pitt 71, St. Francis, Pa. 47

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jaime Dixon:

Opening Statement:

“We got off to a really good start. We did what we wanted to do against the one-three-one. I thought we attacked it very well. It was something we prepared for. We outrebounded them by a big number. That is our strength and we wanted to take advantage of that. I thought we really played well in stretches, but not for all 40 minutes. They (St. Francis) kept battling and made some tough shots. We did some good things. I wish we would have done a better job in the second half against the one-three-one. For whatever reason, as good as we were in the first half we were not as good in the second half. We had some turnovers. We only had two in the first half but we had some more in the second half and that kind of slowed us down. For the most part we did a very good job. We got up by a very big number and stayed with it. I was happy with the younger guys getting a lot of minutes. That was good for us.”

On J.J. Moore getting more comfortable:

“He has been playing hard and working hard. He is going to really good player. He is doing a good job on the glass. Shot selection is really important for him and he has to continue working on that. The good thing about today was that he got some layups and offensive rebounds so he does not have to rely solely on jump shots.”

On improving defensively:

“We have definitely improved, the numbers surely indicate that. We are heading in the right direction. Rebounding is a part of defense, so we are doing a good job there. I think they got a few too many offensive rebounds, especially in the second half. We did a pretty good job. They made some threes that we had some breakdowns on but you cannot guard everything. You have to continue to make them take guarded, contested shots. We are continuing to improve on the defensive end.”

On Lamar Patterson’s continued success:

“Lamar is playing really well. Any position we put him at he is playing well. He only went twenty minutes and he had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists with only one turnover. Those are good numbers. He shot it well, made free-throws and had three steals. He is playing really well.”

On rebounding dominance and challenging the guys to improve on the glass:

“I just think we can do things a little better. We are trying to challenge our guys with the numbers. I would guess we are still leading the country in rebounding after today. It is something we talked about last year – we wanted to lead the country in rebounding margin. I think we ended up second. We are first this year. It is something we have done year after year. It is our strength. We need to play to it, continue to build off it, and not be satisfied.”

Quoting Pitt’s J.J. Moore:

On playing more with Lamar Patterson:

“It is working out well for us. Lamar is like another Brad Wanamaker – he can rebound, assist and score. Lamar looks for us and he can distribute. It is helping us.”

On playing with more energy:

“Coach came out fired up today and that fired us up, especially me. I just wanted to go out there and help us get a win.”

On not depending on 3-pointers as more the past couple games:

“We can go inside, too. We can get inside touches and layups. We are playing hard and it is showing up. Things aren’t really falling for us (outside), but we are getting layups and dunks.”

Quoting Pitt’s Dante Taylor:

On coming together as a team:

“Our energy has been lifting everybody up. Everybody is coming in excited every day and ready to practice. We get out there early and get better. It showed today.”

On getting better defensively:

“We turned it up today. It shows how far we have come defensively. We aren’t taking any plays off.”

On Malcolm Gilbert’s development:

“I’m very happy for him because he has been working so hard. I know hard he works – he comes in every day and gives 110% even though he had not been playing every game. It is good for another big man to see that.”

Quoting St. Francis, Pa. Head Coach Don Friday:

Opening statement:

“Coming in here tonight we knew we were up against a really good Pitt team in a great venue. We said we had to start this game on our toes and that we had to be able to put some points in the bucket early on. For the third straight game our offense has languished. We have to go look and see why that is.  That falls on our staff and our kids. We are going to have to figure out some ways to go get some bread and butter looks. One of the things we said coming in to this game: the physicality that Pitt throws at you on the glass is something you can’t simulate, they’re terrific. I said to our kids in the locker room after this game that I want them to take this as a gage and as a measuring stick. So in June when they’re tucked away in our weight room in their safe little zones they take their video games, cell phones and facebook and they take it all and shove it.  They need go back into that weight room and shove weights a little harder and they need to push a little harder.  They need get themselves stronger and watch their diets. We also talked about a culture. What we tried to masquerade the past two days for rebounding and what the reality was out there on the floor for the past forty minutes wasn’t even in the same universe. That is a part of where our young team needs to grow. Another part of it is when you’re playing a team like Pitt you need to be able to execute and focus with a mental and physical toughness that you have to have. There were three segments tonight where we continued to battle back when it was starting to get away from us. Those are the three things we are going to build on. We have another one coming up against Saint Bonaventure this week and our kids will be ready. Our kids will take something away from here. There is a reason we came to Pitt. They are one of the premier programs in the country and you can see that from looking at what they have done the past eight years. It’s a classy program from the top-down starting with Coach Dixon and his personnel. We had a chance to get exposed to that tonight. We will learn from it and go right back to work tomorrow.  ”

On preparing for Pitt:

“Pitt was obviously coming off a tough stretch the other night with shooting the basketball. We talked about that part of it and how we could do some things to play off some guys on the perimeter. The thing that Pitt does and may be a little underrated is that they’re big men and their program is doing a heck of a job teaching their big kids the interior pass. So as you’re out there chasing those guards around and Gibbs and Wright, you’re trying to account for those guys. Now all of sudden one of those bigs catches the ball on the high post or they catch it in that short corner, they are able to turn and make that next play. It’s like having another point guard on the paint. That was something we talked about with our kids but it was something hard for us to simulate. We were hoping we could get these guys standing around a little bit, and we said we needed to put up a bigger effort on the glass but neither one of those things happened. The only thing we can do now is go back and fix that. It falls on Saint Francis. It’s not Pitt’s job to help us, but instead we have to catch up to those guys.” 

On J.J. Moore:

“We saw him against Oklahoma State and VMI. We labeled him as one of Pitt’s better perimeter shooters. With his feet set he’s pretty good. He has a three man’s game in a four man’s body. He is a physical kid that way.”

“We knew coming in here we really needed to take care of the basketball and that we were going to have to rebound with these guys. We weren’t going to be able to afford those catastrophic turnovers that will lead to those easy points. Our transition defense and our help side defense wasn’t very good tonight. You have to give Pitt credit because they caused some of that but we have to do a better job. You can’t come in giving away easy buckets. We will fix what we need to and address it tomorrow.”

Quoting Saint Francis’s Anthony Ervin:

On the team’s younger players at Pitt’s venue:

“I was worried at first because as a freshman playing in a big environment like Pitt all you can really see is the name of their jersey. You don’t realize they are regular people like you. Today was a challenge because of the physical part but I don’t think mentally it was too big for us. Physically you can see right away that Pittsburgh is much bigger and as a freshman when you see that you just want to run. As a freshman you will look at it differently than you would as a sophomore or junior.”

Quoting Saint Francis’s Scott Eatherton:

On Pitt’s physicality:

“Pitt was a lot more physical than us. One thing I really noticed is that they were a lot longer than we were. We would try to box them out and we would have bodies on them but they would still manage to get the rebound because of their length.  That is something we need to work on in the weight room and get stronger at to surpass in the future.”

“You could tell that Pitt was stronger so we need to get into the weight room more. We also need to eat better because some people on our team do not eat right and that could affect their weight. The weight room is something we need to get into.” 

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