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Dec. 28, 2009

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Pitt vs. DePaul, December 28, 2009, Petersen Events Center

Pitt 65, DePaul 52


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon:


Opening Statement:


“It’s always good to get off to a strong start in Big East play. We didn’t play our best game for 40 minutes tonight, but I thought we played well in stretches, especially on defense.  We had a lot of guys step up and contribute tonight, which is also a good sign. We have things to build on going forward from this game, but there are still improvements to make.”


On Pitt’s turnovers:


“We weren’t as sharp as we’d like to be in that regard, especially in the first half. We had another careless moving screen, which seems to be something that keeps happening. Overall though, our numbers aren’t that far off from where they’ve been in other seasons. We’re usually one of the best teams in the country in that regard, so some of our struggles tend to get a bit exaggerated.”


On the play of Jermaine Dixon:


“Six months is six months. When you’re away from the court for that long, there’s going to be an adjustment period when you start playing again. You can’t get back what you’ve missed out on in just two weeks. It’s a bad situation, but he’s battled hard throughout and I’m positive he’s going to keep improving.”


On the play of Ashton Gibbs:


“His six rebounds were a great sign. Rebounding is an area we really stressed where he needed to get better. When he first got here, it was not something he did particularly well. However, he’s committed himself to getting better at it, and you saw proof of that hard work tonight. It’s a key to what we do as a team that our perimeter guys have to rebound well.”


On the state of Pitt’s team:


“We’re not where I want us to be.  I know that we lost a lot after last season and what the expectations are for us from a lot of different media outlets, but I never buy into that. I think we have the ability to keep things going; it’s just about players stepping up. Heading into Big East play, I keep telling our guys, the freshmen need to play like sophomores and the sophomores need to play like juniors.”


Quoting Pitt’s Jermaine Dixon:


On Pitt’s Defense:


“Coach Dixon had us well prepared as he always does. We just had to stay focused and execute the game plan. We want to show that we can defend, and to take it personally to go out there and shut our man down.”


On Pitt’s upcoming games:


“This is a big stretch for us. It’s an opportunity for us to show everyone where we are as a team. The Big East is a great conference so everyone goes through tough patches.  But big games like this are why you come to a school like Pitt.”


Quoting Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs:


On Pitt’s Big East opener:


“It was a great atmosphere. We had a great and very supportive crowd behind us tonight, and we just tried to take advantage. Every game in the conference is important, so you want to make sure you put forth your best effort each time.”


On his offense:


“No matter how my shot feels, I’m still trying to get others involved. I have the freedom to take shots within our offense, but it’s a team game and I want to focus on making sure we get the best look we can every time down the court. I also have been trying to focus on rebounding the ball more on both ends of the floor.”


Quoting DePaul Head Coach Jerry Wainwright


Opening Statement:


“This is a great arena. I enjoy playing here. Coach Dixon has done a great job with his team. I am fortunate enough to know some of their players. I got to know Brad Wanamaker when he was going through tryouts for the Under-19 team. They have some great kids. Ashton Gibbs had an outstanding game. He is a terrific shooter. He takes advantage of every opening. He made us pay. He was definitely the key to the game, just look at his stat line. I think Pitt will improve when Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon get back into game shape. I thought we had makeable shots. We got it down to five and then we took an ill-advised shot. It’s been tough, because we haven’t had the same five guys out there together yet this year. This was a tough game for both teams, because of the holiday. It made it tough to find practice time. I thought for the most part our kids hung in there. Jamie Dixon’s teams are always good execution teams. Ashton Gibbs is going to be the next good guard for them.”


On this Pitt team being similar to the low-scoring Pitt teams of the past:


“I think that they are going to grind it out a little more than they did last year. They had two guys drafted into the NBA. They were able to play well offensively and defensively last year. They have some young guys who need to learn how to lead. With more experience, they will get better. Gilbert Brown will help offensively. I’ve always thought that he was a very explosive player. He is long, and has a nice jump shot. This team will be similar to those teams from Jamie’s first few years and even to those teams coached by Ben Howland. They will be more of a grind it out team that scores in the 50’s and 60’s. They don’t turn it over much. They are fundamentally sound. They aren’t going to explode offensively like they did last year.”

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