Dec. 3, 2011
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
I think the key to the game in a nutshell was offensive rebounding. Pitt did a good job attacking the glass. We've got to to a better job there. They got 18 points off second chance offensive rebound. I thought the crowd was great for us. They had great energy, especially when we made that last run with a minute and a half left in the game.
"Cam Tatum did a great job. First double-double of his career was impressive. The goal in practice was to really crash the glass and rebound, and Tatum did a tremendous job of getting 10 defensive rebounds.
"In the second half, Pitt made their run. I can't remember exactly when they made that run but they got their heads up somewhat, and we couldn't make those stops on the ball-screen sequence on three or four possessions.
"I thought Kenny (Hall) had one of his better games of the season. He was assertive on both ends of the court. I thought he was aggressive. I thought he did a good job attacking the glass. I thought Dwight (Miller) and Yemi (Makanjuola) did a good job giving us a boost off the bench, which was good.
"I thought it was great for our guys to go against some of the best teams in the country. In the first seven games to play teams of this caliber, obviously we want to win these ballgames, but it's good for our guys because you have to learn how to move forward. I thought our guys really battled and really defended for the most part, and that's what I'm used to seeing on the defensive side of the ball. A physical, aggressive game. It's rare to see two physical teams defending at that level and not as many fouls being called, and I thought the officials did a good job of allowing us to play. I thought they were calling it right. It was one of those fun games that I really like being a part of. Unfortunately we came up short."
(On Trae Golden's jumpball turnover with less than 30 seconds remaining:)
"We run a flat series where he's attacking off the dribble, which is great for us. Unfortunately, he got the jumpball call. We wanted him to really attack off the bounce and Ashton Gibbs did a good job of getting his hands on the ball."
(On opposing teams getting many offensive rebounds two games in a row:)
"I think you can say whatever you want, but you have to give Oakland credit for winning the game. If you want say fatigue in legs and OK, I'll buy that. But in this game and in this situation to give up 17 offensive rebounds and the way you give them up, you're right next to your man and they're getting the ball. It's one case when your helping and chasing a guy and they shoot it up and get the rebound. If you're standing right next to a guy and they're getting the rebound, it's just effort and putting a body on somebody. That's what we talk about all the time. That's the bottom line. I thought Nasir Robinson did a great job dominating the game on the offensive glass."
(On Kenny Hall's game:)
"I thought he did a good job of being assertive in the first half. I thought he did a solid job in the second half. It was just a physical game. Once again, not a lot of shots being made on the first attempt. In the second half, it was just a case of them getting the offensive rebound. Ashton Gibbs made a couple plays but going 7-for-21, I'll take that any day of the week."
Sophomore Point Guard Trae Golden
(on playing hard until the end of the game)
"I think there was a timeout called and Coach Martin told us not to give up. That's one thing he stressed to us. We kept fighting. Bad luck of the draw with the tie-up. I can't really say too much about that. It just didn't go our way."
(On the final minute of the game)
"I think we felt confident once Dante Taylor missed that (free throw). I came down and we were down two. I knew my teammates were counting on me. It was a tough draw. I think we just have to continue to get better. We're right there. Once we push through that wall, we're going to be fine."
(On the jump ball with 3.8 seconds remaining)
"It was a tough play. You can watch the replay and see a lot what happened. The refs called what they thought was right and you have to go with it."
(On playing a physical game)
"I think that's what we wanted most. That's the type of team we are. That's how we practice. We didn't really back down from that. Pitt is a good team. You can't take anything away from them. We had a great crowd and we should've pulled it through, but we didn't."
(On Pittsburgh's 7-0 run right before halftime)
"You look at a team like Pitt and I think with them things like that are what they needed with that one-point lead going into half. It was just such an up-and-down game. We led. They led. It did have a vital part of the game, but I think we should've held our ground there and went into the half up 26-20. It's just something we have to continue to get better at."
Senior Guard Cameron Tatum
(On taking control of the team late)
"I wouldn't say I necessarily take over. It's just experience to go with it. My poise, at some points in the game, help me to try to calm the team down and get the team in the right position if we need a defensive stop or if we need a basket. It's all about knowing timing and space on the floor."
(On the defensive breakdown when Gibbs made a run for Pitt)
"It might have been a combination of we weren't playing the ball screens. We tried to keep him on one side, and once he got in the middle and there wasn't much of a hedge guy there on the screens he had the shots. Some of the offensive rebounds they got, they kicked it back out to him and he was wide open."
(On some of the close games going either way)
"They definitely could have gone either way. These are the types of games we've got to finish in order to become a good team and win big ballgames. That's what good teams do; they win the tight ballgames. We've got to find a way to start closing out. We're right with teams every step of the way - or at least 39 minutes. We just have to start figuring out how to get to 40 minutes."
(On still playing with confidence when trailing 58-50)
"We got the guys together. Everybody was in the huddle and everybody was comfortable. Everybody still had high hopes, high spirits (and thought) `We're not losing this game.' We still had plenty of time to come back and make something happen. We did, but we just didn't execute at the end."
(On not being satisfied with moral victories)
"The guys in the locker room who are out there playing want to put `Ws' up there. We're out there working hard in practice to play these big games and to play teams like that. We want to see a good result at the end."
(On the key to being a better rebounding team)
"Just continue to try to be a better rebounder, across the board from everybody. We have to be more tough on the glass."
(On turning the ball over four times)
"I had some key turnovers that has a veteran I shouldn't have. I have to do a better job of protecting the ball, having more poise on the offensive end and not turning the ball over. I think we did a better job of executing some of our offensive plays, but we have to have even better patient. We'll get better with that."
(On practicing and playing during finals week)
"It's difficult, but this is what we signed up for. It's what our scholarship pays for and it's what we came here to do. You just have deal with it and be ready."
Junior Forward Kenny Hall
(On the rebounding)
"We weren't doing a good enough job of putting our bodies on our man and boxing them out. I got 12 boards but I still gave up a couple of them on physical offensive rebounds. It's on all of us. When you look at what we went over in practice, our game plan, our execution, we did everything right but keeping them off the offensive glass."
(On keeping the game close)
"Yeah, of course we're not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting until the horn goes off, no matter what the score is. It was just a disappointing loss."
(On playing close games against good teams)
"We do a pretty good job. We're executing right. A couple of games could have been rebounding or a couple of good shots. Against Memphis, we lost the game in transition. Against Duke, we had a couple of mental letdowns that gave up some crucial points. And tonight, it was offensive rebounds. We stayed focused on everything and executed on everything."
(On learning from one game to the next)
"We watch a lot of film for each game and each day at practice we get better at whatever we're focusing on. I'm pretty sure over this next week we're going to be doing a lot of boxing out drills and driving people right."
Junior Forward Dwight Miller
(On Pitt's Nasir Robinson's rebounding ability)
"Ever since we came in together (at Pittsburgh), he always did a real good job at rebounding. He's a really smart basketball player. He knows the spots to get on the floor and places to get to go and get those rebounds. He does a really good job of reading it after it leaves the shooter's hands and judging trajectory and knowing where the ball's going to end up. I think that's why he's always been so successful on the offensive glass."
(On the frustration of losing to his former team)
"Obviously, you always want to get that win. You feel like you've got something to prove, especially against your former team and guys you always competed against. It's bragging rights. It was a tough game. We didn't handle some things on our end that we should have, and I guess we paid the price for it. It's something we've got to fix."
Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon
"It was a good win, obviously. They don't lose much down here, so we found a way. People had written us off without Tray (Woodall) being in there, but we've got to get these guys better. Our young guys are freshmen.
"I thought John (Johnson) played really well and I thought Cameron (Wright) played well. He didn't make shots - he took some good ones - but he defended and that's what we needed from him. He took care of the ball; that's what we needed from him. And he took good shots, except maybe one, but that's within the offense and within what we're trying to do.
"I think we ground it out and that was good to see. We had to get stops down the stretch and that's what we did. We fought through some adversity and some foul trouble early and made the right plays. So there were some very good performances by a lot of guys."
On Ashton Gibbs making plays
"We got the ball in his hands a lot. I hope we can get away from that - it's too much and it's too many minutes. It's 38, but, again, we had to shift on the fly here. John (Johnson) will have to get some more point-guard play and maybe Isaiah (Epps).
"We've got to get him (Gibbs) off the ball a little bit. He came out with five rebounds and he did some other things, which we need to get from him on a consistent basis. He played with a lot of confidence and I think that spread to the team. I think that was the biggest thing.
"We've got who knows how many freshmen out there, and I think his confidence kind of spread to the team as the game went on and those young guys made some good plays."