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Dec. 27, 2010

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No. 4 UConn at No. 6 Pitt, Petersen Events Center, December 27, 2010

No. 6 Pitt 78, No. 4 UConn 63


Quoting Pitt’s Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening Statement:


“Every time we get together with UConn, it’s a battle and a great game and that’s exactly what you saw out there tonight. I thought we executed very well on both ends of the floor, and I really liked that we took good shots. Our offense was good but I’m particularly pleased with our defense because getting better there was something that we’ve been stressing in practice the last couple of weeks. UConn is a great program that we have a tremendous amount of respect for and it took a sustained effort from us to get the win.”


On Pitt’s transition defense:


“I thought our transition defense was good. We know how dangerous UConn can be running the floor, so that was something we emphasized in preparing for this game. We really wanted to get back and make them play in the half court and I thought we did that very effectively for the most part. They had some lay-ups and tip-ins in transition that we wish we could have prevented, but they are a talented team so that’s going to happen sometimes.”


On defending Kemba Walker:


“He had 31 points, but the fact that they came on 27 shots speaks for itself. Shooting percentage is key in defending him as obviously he’s a very big part of what they do on offense. One of our goals also was to keep him off of the free-throw line, which we did pretty effectively, especially in the first half. We also tried to rotate different guys onto him defensively to give him a different look. Kemba Walker is going to score, we just need to make him take tough shots.”


On Pitt’s frontcourt play:


“I thought we attacked the paint very well on offense tonight. We moved the ball well and got our big guys some inside touches when they were in good position to really attack the basket. I thought we were able to take better shots than they did on the interior, which is excellent because UConn has a very good post offense.


On Pitt’s half court offense:


“I’m really pleased with how our half court offense is developing and improving. The way we pass the ball and move in space, we can be very dangerous. I think we’re finally starting to realize that a contested three early in the shot clock isn’t necessary, because if we stay with it we can get great shots. Honestly though, I’m still not sure we realize how good we can be at this.”


Quoting Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker


On UConn’s Kemba Walker:


“Well, he came in and got 31 points for them and we planned to be tight on him. He made some tough shots and took the ball to the basket. He’s a great player, but I thought we gave an good overall team effort on defense.”


On Offense:


“The team got it going on offense and I credit that to Ashton Gibbs, who led us with seven assists. We were able to make the extra pass and find someone. Also, we have players that continue to step up for us, which goes to show our depth.”


On beating UConn in the first Big East game:


“It’s great for us. They’re a good team that’s playing good basketball and it shows us where we are and how we can improve.”


Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs:


On his open looks:


“Yeah, I got some wide open looks, but I credit that to my teammates, they were screening and Coach was stressing that to us this week and in this game I got the ball and it worked out for my benefit.”


On Nasir Robinson:


“He brings energy to the floor and he’s got that motor in him and it helps getting him on the floor early. He’s real aggressive and he grabs a lot of rebounds. I felt that our starting lineup was the best we’ve had all year.”


On UConn being young:


“I thought they showed it a little bit, but I thought we showed that we were a veteran team more, especially towards the end of the game. We slowed the game down and made some critical baskets. We didn’t force anything. We showed that we are experienced.”


Quoting Gary McGhee


On Pitt’s game:


“We did a great job of executing and stopping them in transition. That was our main focus this week and we were able to stop them. It was a typical Pitt vs. UConn game, it was physical and those two reasons are why we’ve been winning against them.”


Quoting Nasir Robinson:


On starting the game:


“I knew I was going to start the first practice we had last week. Coach pulled me aside and told that I would be back starting. It boosts my confidence. I’ve done a lot to get back into the starting lineup, I’ve been working hard in rehab and practicing hard. But, it doesn’t really matter when I get into the game, as long as I can play my game.”


Quoting Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun


Opening Statement


“First thing, I want to compliment Jamie.  He had his team ready defensively and that’s what started it.  I thought they just locked us up defensively. We aren’t a young team, but they made us make young plays. We thought the bailout would be a fall away three pointer or some tough shots. The only thing we did was rebound.  I thought this was the best officiated game, far and away, that we’ve had in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a physical team. Normally I don’t say that about officials. I thought this was the fairest game for both teams. They right off the bat jumped on both teams.  It’s Pittsburgh and UConn and I thought it was a fairly officiated game.  There was a bad call here, a bad call there. I had some bad calls, our kids had plenty of bad calls. I thought the game was well officiated. I thought the Pittsburgh kids came out and supported their team.


“I thought we didn’t react well to being manhandled defensively. I think a lot of players, young players in particular predicate their whole game on the jump shot. They weren’t allowing us to get good shots. We took some ill-advised ones. Our two big guys combined in 33 minutes for 3 rebounds defensively, which is always good to have in a game like this. We’re disappointed with our inside game. We allowed a team, a very good team by the way, who plays very good defense to take us out of a lot of things that we did. We lost some of the swagger that we needed to have to win the game.”


“This is one game out of 18. Give credit to Jamie and Pittsburgh. They play good defense. We know that [Ashton]Gibbs is a terrific player.”


On Alex Oriakhi’s performance:


“I’m not sure if he’s better sitting or playing? I’m being honest. I love Alex to death. He’s not playing well. I think he has a chance to be a very good player. He’s not playing like the player that he is capable of being. Obviously, he has great promise.”


“I think the way we sort of stayed in the game, but couldn’t get over the hump was that Kemba [Walker] saw that he had to pick-up too much of the burden. I would have preferred that he gave the ball up. He’s still a great player. He certainly kept us in distance. We were always within fighting distance until the last couple of minutes. Bottom line is that our front court has got to play a lot better than that. Team wise we need to be tougher. We need to be mentally tougher. That’s the whole game. The game is about willing.”

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