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Dec. 22, 2010

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American at No. 6 Pitt, Petersen Events Center, December 22, 2010

Pitt 61, Rider 46


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening Statement:


“It was good team that we played. They should win the Patriot League and I expect them to be in the NCAA tournament. They have incredible patience and they execute well. They’ve already won five road games this year and I anticipate them to win more. They’re well prepared. We had some good stretches, especially in the first half. I like how we played, we stepped up defensively, we moved the ball, we rebounded and we took good shots after getting off to a slow start. They forced us to make some bad decisions, but I’m pleased with the 17 rebounding margin and our turnover margin. There are still things that we need to work on and that’s what we’ll do in the next few days.”


On the play of Dante Taylor:


“I was pleased with the last 10 minutes of our first half play. We had a 16 point lead and that’s huge in a low scoring game. We then had a couple bad possessions and a couple turnovers. That part was disappointing, but we had five turnovers. But I thought what got them going is their shot selection and I thought that Dante Taylor played really well. He had a few baskets for us that got everyone going and he played great defense. For the most part, he had some good rebounding numbers as well, so we had a good performance from him.”


On American’s patience on offense:


“In some ways it was like a Big East game, but they’re well prepared and they play with a purpose. If you look at their roster, all of Coach Jones’ players are experienced. He’s pretty excited about their team and what they’re going to do this year. He’s prepared them by facing tough opponents on the road and he understands tempo and his team is old enough to recognize what is going to be successful for them. We had a chance to pull away, but it’s hard to do that in a low scoring game.”


On winning his 200th career game:


“It’s something that I wasn’t really concerned with, but after the game the seniors stepped up and presented me with the ball and gave a speech and they thanked for my hard work and dedication to them. I reminded them I have 200 wins because of my good players and that beats coaching any day and I’m sticking to that philosophy. It’s a gesture that I really appreciated.”


On heading into Big East play:


“It’s still December but we can continue to improve even though it’s said to be an off year for the Big East with only five teams ranked. But we have to start off with UConn and they’ve surprised people early on. They were counted out and now they’re back to where they are used to being and we’re going to have to be prepared. It’s a unique circumstance in order to kick off Big East play.”


Quoting Pitt’s Dante Taylor


On facing UConn:


“It’s going to be a good game. We’re looking forward to it. We have to get ready in practice and we’re going to have to be ready to play well. I have to do what I do best.”


Quoting Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker


On Coach Dixon’s 200th win:


“We congratulated him after the game and thanked him for his hard work and dedication to us but we still have more to achieve.”


On facing UConn:


“UConn surprised everyone early and they’re a good team. Even though we’re the underdogs for Monday night, it’s our home and we’re going to have to play our game.”


On their improvements:


“There were three keys that we needed to work on before we started Big East play and they were rebounding, defense, and cutting down on our turnovers. We have improved in those areas, but we can still improve. Steady improvement is what our season is about and if we do that we can succeed.”


On playing over Christmas:


“Yeah, it’s different for us, but it’s how it has to be. We have work to do and we do it for our families because that’s who we play for every game. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and as much as we want to be with them, we’ve got to get ready for this game.”


Quoting Pitt’s Gilbert Brown:


On the game:


“Heading into the Big East, this game kind of reminded us of the type of game we see in our conference. Slowing down the offensive possession and waiting until late in the shot clock to shoot. “


On playing UConn:


“In the past two or three years, we’ve just battled against UConn. The games have been close, both teams have been ranked pretty high and we’re looking forward to it. It seems like every year Coach Calhoun has a plan for us and he tries to target the boards, but we’re looking for the matchup on Monday night.”


Quoting American University Head Coach Jeff Jones


Opening Statement:


“All it takes is a quick glance at the stat sheet to tell you the story of the game. Obviously Pitt came in as the best rebounding team in the country and they didn’t do anything to disappoint tonight. In a number of ways I thought we battled pretty hard, but we just couldn’t hang with them on the boards. That was the difference.”    


On Pitt’s rebounding:


“I think they do a lot of things well, but that’s the one thing that jumps out at you whether it’s watching tonight’s game or watching them on film. They had 17 rebounds and a percentage of 16.2, I think, coming into this. That’s a pretty good margin of error and when you look at the shooting percentages they aren’t that much different, but that just gives them more opportunities. The one thing that was kind of glaring was the free throw shooting. But we knew that also coming in. but the more opportunities they can get and they are not the kind of team that forces a lot of turnovers and that’s another way to create additional possessions. Their rebounding in general and their offensive rebounding in particular is the strength of their team. They have great guard play and a lot of bodies. We played West Virginia University a couple weeks ago and they are similar, but I think Pittsburgh has more bodies and big bodies that they can throw in the game. They are very good and obviously they didn’t have to play their vest best tonight. They are a very good team.”


On American’s plan of attack:


“I expected more energy from us to start the game. W wanted to be opportunistic. We didn’t want to face a set defense every time.  We knew we didn’t want to go up and down and play a high scoring game. We felt like with Vlad Moldoveanu we could force them into some situations where their big guys aren’t really comfortable. We got those situations in the second half. We kept going to Moldoveanu because at times they doubled him. We were trying to isolate him on the block to see if they would double so he could pass out of the double and create some opportunities. But they kept just throwing fresh players in there. When we would get back into striking distance or at least making the margin respectable, they would come up with an offensive rebound or some big play and tighten up defensively.”


On staying close early in the first half:


“It got away from us there. What we wanted to do was just kind of hang around. I think it was 14-14 and the next time I looked up it was about 36-14, something like that. We missed some shots. We had opportunities when we turned the ball over in some unsettled situations. So I think that did hurt us. We’ve had the problem with going through some stretches. We just played North Western the other night and we were down by 4 at the half. We scored 4 points in the first 7 minutes of the second half. So, we are playing against some pretty good competition, but that’s been an issue that we’ve had. When you are playing against teams that are more physically more talented, you have to hand in there, chip away and make the most of the opportunities.”


On Coach Dixon’s 200th win:


“He does a fantastic job. I didn’t realize how quickly he climbed the ladder. Dixon built on success, but not only did he build a good team, but an outstanding program. That says a lot to me.”

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