Jan. 31, 2015

Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery


No. 8 Notre Dame at Pitt – Petersen Events Center – Pittsburgh, Pa. – January 31, 2015
Pitt 76, No. 8 Notre Dame 72

Quoting Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

Opening Statement:

“I think the major story of this game is how well Pitt played on both ends of the floor. They were in a great rhythm offensively and were very good defensively at key times. I thought James Robinson made it very hard on Jerian (Grant). It was one of those games where I think we deserved to lose by 15 and what I love about our group is that we took the lead and took that shot down in the corner to steal another one. I think a lot of credit has to go to Pittsburgh and how well they played.”

On Pitt’s offensive efficiency:

“They were really in a groove offensively and I think our defense hurt us today, we could never get enough stops to really win the game. We were scoring the whole time and this group has been able to get stops, especially in the last seven or eight minutes, to usually escape. We got a couple of stops, but could never get enough to really believe and then they got really confident offensively.”

On playing N.C. State, Duke and now Pitt all in one week:

“It’s been a long week and we have been invested emotionally. I was concerned about this one, but again we had a chance to win it which was great. We were running on empty but of all the games I’ve watched Pitt all year, I think that is the best they have played. I thought they were in a great rhythm, they got confident, guys were making shots and Robinson is such a rock, such a solid guy. I think they are and will be a NCAA tournament team from our league. I know they have had a couple of tough ones, but I think they will be in the NCAA tournament when it’s all said and done.”

On Jerian Grant being able to score so well late in the game:

“I think what had helped us was going with a small lineup and the floor was more open. What we were doing then was ball-screening for Jerian and then they would switch a big guy. He could drive or shoot and not have James Robinson on him. He was able to get some cleaner looks then.”

On what problems Pitt caused Notre Dame’s defense:

“I think just all the way around, keeping people in front of us. We know they are a team that wants to get to the basket, they don’t want to shoot jump shots or three-point shots. They still were able to physically get in there on us and the key defensive position was we needed to get the stop when Robinson hit the winner to win the game but we just couldn’t dig in and get it.”

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon

Opening Statement:

“Well it was great to see the ball movement, and the passing. It’s great to see these guys get this win because they’ve been working so hard and they’ve been coming out and putting the effort in. I’m proud of them and how they played and it was a great win over a very good team. So congratulations to our guys because they made big plays all the way through, and we guarded a really good team and kept a really good player [Jerian Grant] about as under control as you can. I thought we did a great job offensively, moving the ball, passing, getting the ball inside out, which is something we’ve continuously emphasized and when they went to the zone we attacked that really well. So it was a big day for us with big improvements, and now we’ve got to get ready for Monday. It’s a quick turn-around but I’m excited about how our guys did. We did a great job down the stretch, ran a play on the time out, got out in the lane and got a lay-up out of it. I thought we executed really well. I thought even with the lead, you obviously have to knock down a free throw in a one on one situation, but we didn’t want to give them kick out threes, so we did a pretty good job in that area. They would come back and it was a great job by our guys on the glass to win that battle, but taking care of the ball as well. “

On starting Josh Newkirk:

“It’s just trying to get some scoring off the bench. It’s something we’ve talked about. You didn’t see much of it in the first half, but I thought it was a key play in the second half with him coming in and getting us going. I thought that was big. I wanted to get Josh going. I thought he did some key things. I know his numbers aren’t great but I thought he did some good things, getting some penetration and getting some drives, getting us going in transition. A big thing for us was emphasizing pushing the ball today and getting some transition baskets, or at least attacking and getting the ball inside; and I thought Josh brought some of that to the table early.”

On this game acting as a launching pad:

“You lose to Duke and you lose to Louisville and it’s the end of the world. You’re up seven against Virginia Tech and you just don’t get it done on the road. We know we’re in a tough stretch and we felt we should have won the last game but we haven’t lost confidence. The guys came out and played with confidence and that’s why they shot 59% and that’s why they made the plays down the stretch, and why they came and practiced hard every day this week. I’m proud of them. The effort is good. We’ve got Aron [Phillips-Nwankwo] with a torn labrum, and we’ve just had to do different things. Derrick [Randall] gave us some good minutes today. We just have to keep rotating different guys in because of the situation. I thought they really deserved this win, and they got what they deserved. It’s not like Notre Game played poorly and came in and gave us the game. Both teams played well, and play good basketball and I think that’s evident to everyone.”

On James Robinson’s development:

“I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He’s really put the work in and it’s amazing. Making a couple of shots early on really changes how a guy plays, and I think he’s really shot the ball well lately and its allowed him to feel good about a lot of things. He did a great job defensively. I think he did really good with the ten assists, and really got out offense going.”

Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson

On the process of the winning shot:

“The play was for me to come off the hand off and just make a play. I turned the corner and made the basket. My team had a lot of faith in me to make the play and coach called a good play and we executed really well.”

On getting banged up throughout the game:

“I was feeling good. Throughout the course of the game, everybody gets beat up. You just have to play through those things. I think my teammates did a really good job tonight. We played really good defense, especially Mike Young, when we switched one to five.”

On the win boosting team confidence:

“It was a big win for us. Obviously Notre Dame is a really good team. It’s important to protect your home court and that’s what we were able to do. We can enjoy this and then get ready for practice tomorrow.”

On Notre Dame’s low shooting percentage:

“Our perimeter defense, including our big men, they did a really good job guarding the ball. We were able to stay on shooters, especially on the strong side drives. Like I said, Mike [Young] and Jamel [Artis] did a good job defending their perimeter players.”

On shutting down Jerian Grant:

“It was a team effort. We switched a lot, so a lot of guys had the chance to check him. Cameron [Wright] did a really good job. Like I said, Mike [Young] and Jamel [Artis] really helped me out. They helped us out on the defensive end. Credit goes to the team effort.”

On guarding Grant when there wasn’t help:

“Just try to not let him get the ball as much as I can. When he has the ball in his hands he’s really effective, whether it be scoring or passing. I think when I was denying him the other four guys on the court did a really good job keeping their man in front of them as well. We didn’t have to help out as much.”

Quoting Pitt guard Cameron Wright

On the energetic dunk:

“I just try to provide a spark for my teammates. Overall, this was just a great team effort today. I don’t want to single anyone out; I’m just really happy and proud of the way my team played.”

On the lack of size compared to other teams and match ups today:

“I don’t feel like we lack any size at heart. That’s what it’s all about. We go out there and we fight and compete everyday as a team. That’s just what we did tonight.”

On Notre Dame’s lack of respect for his jump shot:

“My team did a really good job screening for me and allowing me to get to my spots. I also know how to create and get to my spots. My teammates did a really good job getting me open tonight.”

On playing well offensively and how that builds confidence:

“When you see the ball go through the net you get excited and the crowd and Oakland Zoo gets going. It’s a remarkable feeling when you see that ball go through the net. It just provides another spark for us on defense to get it back again.”

Quoting Pitt forward Michael Young

On how the win can launch the Panther’s season:

“Yes. I feel like we’ve been struggling throughout the ACC. We’ve had some ups and downs. I think this win will get us going. We have a nice stretch of games coming up in these next few weeks. This will really get us going and get a nice winning-streak.”

On having home court advantage:

“It’s big. You always want to play at home–you have friends and family there. Everybody is out there cheering for you. But you have to play well regardless.”

Quoting Pitt guard Jamel Artis

On how the win can launch the Panther’s season:

“This game right here, that was the season. We were 3-5 in the ACC so we had to get this win. So this is a big win and our guys came out and played hard.”