UC-Pitt Postgame Quotes

Jan. 1, 2012

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Postgame Quotes
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Jan. 1, 2012

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin
Opening statement:
“I’m just proud of my team. They give extreme effort at all times. They are a very easy to coach basketball team right now. I can make adjustments and everybody is locked in and everybody’s focused. We’re making some shots too. You always look smarter when guys make shots. Our best shooter took a charge to win the game. That was something that I’m really proud of. People in White Plains, N.Y. were probably shocked.”

On how key it was to create turnovers:
“I told our guys that for us 40 deflections equals victory. We were going to have to steal rebounds that we can’t get because of our lack of size and we’re going to get 17 or more turnovers. We got 17 turnovers and 41 deflections and all that was with relentless effort by our guys. When you watch those guys play you wonder how they do it, they are so small. Our center is 6-6 and a half, 215 pounds.”

On Justin Jackson’s activity during the game:
“A big key for us was keeping Justin in the game. Foul trouble is a big (problem), even when we were at full strength. I told him he had to play at least 25 minutes or we weren’t going to win. He did a great job of blocking shots and giving us a presence without fouling. He rebounded the ball well without fouling. And that’s with us pressing and sometimes he gets exposed in the back. But he did an excellent job of growing up as a player. We talk about that all the time, it’s all about talent and discipline. A lot of teams have talent, everybody doesn’t have discipline, enough discipline to play smart and that will equal victory. He’s getting better at that. We obviously had to make some shots and have key plays, but if he doesn’t play 32 minutes we don’t win because Kelvin Gaines isn’t quite ready.”

On defense that lead to Dion Dixon’s dunk:
“Our defense on that possession put them in a late clock situation that forced Ashton (Gibbs) into a desperation shot. That whole possession was huge. I got guys right now who are playing better than the other’s coach’s guys. That’s what this league is all about. It’s a player’s league.”   

On how UC will play moving forward with the suspended players coming back:
“We should be better. We have more depth. We’ll be able to withstand foul trouble. We should be able to press more and be more aggressive. We should be an even better team. The one thing about it, the guys have been in practice. It’s different when you don’t have guys because they are hurt.  Like Tray Woodall for the last month has been hurt and different guys are out with injuries. For us, it will be different in game situation. We don’t put them all the time as the scout team. We try to make the teams different but even every day so they all get used to playing each other.”

On coming back from the 11-0 Pitt run early:
“Right now, I’ve probably done the best job that I’ve done with a team at Cincinnati, mentally. We’re not worried about the score, we’re worried about deflections.  We’re confident. We’re worried about getting 40 deflections, defense and hustling. Cashmere Wright, Jaquon Parker, Sean Kilpatrick, Dion Dixon and Justin have really bought into it. We’ve really worked on staying positive. We were a team was too hard on each other at times. A guy misses a shot or doesn’t throw the right pass and guys were giving each other looks. This game is very much about togetherness and chemistry, especially at the college level. So many kids with hopes and dreams trying to get somewhere and we’ve really become a team. That’s the difference. So, when you get down, nobody cares. We just keep playing, staying confident, staying together.”