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Postgame Quotes, UConn 74, Pittsburgh 65

March 3, 2012

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March 3, 2012

Connecticut vs. Pittsburgh

Connecticut Associate Head Coach George Blaney 

Anytime you beat Pittsburgh – I don’t care if they’re having a good year or bad year, anytime you beat them, that’s a good win.

We played great in the first half.  We really had a terrific lead and then took a punch.  This time we took the punch and then punched back.  I thought we out-toughed them at the end. 

We played three good games in a row and had one win to show for it.  This is the fourth good game in a row.  I think we’re trending in the right direction.  Having Coach back really helps, and we’ll go from there.

On Napier

Shabazz Napier had one of his best games of the year.

On Roscoe Smith

One of the biggest plays of the game was the charge he took.   That’s the first charge we’ve taken in six months, I think…. He’s getting saner with the ball.  He’s not turning the ball over.  He took one bad shot today, the three, otherwise he was in and around the basket or in and around the paint area, which is where he’s really effective.  He’s exceptionally strong, he’s a very good defensive player and he’s a terrific rebounder.  And, generally, he blocks shots, too.

On Drummond’s blocks

I’d like to see Andre go after more of them.  I think he’s capable of even more of that.  He just has to understand how good he is, and understand what an effect the shot block has on a team and on a game.  But he did get some really key ones today. 

On Coach Calhoun

Jim’s surgeon was at the game and came into the locker room after the game and said, “Just a normal post-op kind of thing.  You just go and coach a game.”  “When you were running up and down the sideline, I was getting concerned.”  It’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame.  He understands the team.  He understands how to motivate a team.  They were practically crying in the locker room, because he told them he loved them.  And that’s why he came back.  It was emotional for him and very emotional for the team. 

He was good.  He was clear-headed.  He was emotional when he had to be.  The only thing he did differently was put a chair out for him to sit during the time outs.  I only had to get him once to make sure he sat down….He is exhausted right now.  The games exhaust you anyway.  And to be coming off of surgery and go through it, that really can get you.

March 3, 2012

Connecticut vs. Pittsburgh

Player Quotes 

Shabazz Napier

On having Coach Calhoun’s return for this game

It was very important.  He brings an energy that not a lot of guys bring.  And to have him on the sidelines, you always feel a kind of secure feeling when he’s with you.  You feel like he knows all the answers and he’s not going to quit on you.  And today he showed it again.  He’s just one of those guys you want on your side to fight any battle.  He’s fighting his own battles.  We’re fighting our own.  And to come together to fight for each other, it’s one of those things you want to have every single day.  Coach is a tough guy, and to come out here with that little surgery he just had and fight with us, it just shows the character that he has.

When I looked on the sidelines, he would always pump me up.  There’s just something about him – he just bring that energy.  I guess it’s because he’s from Massachusetts just like me.  He brings that energy and it just makes me want to fight harder, even when I’m tired, on my last straw.  He just pumps his fist and I’m like, ‘I’m not done.  I’m going to keep going.’  And he did that for everybody.  To have him on the sideline, words can’t explain what he means for this team.

On Roscoe Smith’s charge

We’ve been trying to get a charge out of anybody this whole season.  That charge signified how effective a charge is.  It came at the moment we needed it.  We tell each other, ‘first one to get a charge, I kid you not, it’s going to be big.  It’s going to be big.’  And he got that charge and I couldn’t help my emotions but to jump on him and grab him and tell him, ‘you did it you did it!  You go that first charge.’  That was that big moment, that big key because we needed that stop to prevail.

Jeremy Lamb

On having Coach Calhoun’s return for this game

He was fresh out of surgery and still he came to coach us and gave it his all.  It meant a lot.  So we wanted to play hard for him…If something was going on, he didn’t let us know.  He just worked through it.  So now he can go rest and get ready for the next game.

This was the last game of the season in Gampel, great crowd out there, and to see Coach back, and just be able to get a win, it’s a real good feeling.

Roscoe Smith

Bringing Coach Calhoun back gave us the extra push we needed. 

We made adjustments on defense to corrupt Pittsburgh’s offense.

What’s been the difference in your game the last few games?

I’ve been picking my spots and being patient.  My role got larger in the offense.

Andre Drummond

On having Coach Calhoun’s return for this game

It was great to see him on the sideline.  It was like an extra spark knowing he was out there.  Just hearing his voice again made us play that much harder…He cares about us as a team, and it just shows his dedication, love and passion for the game.

You never doubted Coach Calhoun was going to be back for this game, did you?

No, I never doubted it.  I walked into the locker room and he was standing there and I said, ‘I knew you were going to be here.’  He just smiled at me.  And then we just went out there and performed today.

What was the locker room like after the game?

Coach Calhoun gave me, Shabazz, and Jeremy a hug after the game.  We were just glad to have him back.

March 3, 2012

Connecticut vs. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon

I’m happy with how we came out and played in the second half.  Our ball movement and reversals and shot selection were an improvement.  We took care of the ball, obviously, and went from 14 down to up two.  I thought we were in a good position.  We stayed with what we were doing and getting to the basket, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do. 

I thought for a stretch there we’ve been about as good as we’ve been all year.  We’ve shown stretches for a good amount of time, but not quite long enough.

We had a number of guys play really well, and I’m proud of how our guys came back after being down by 14. 

We had the ball and we had the lead, and I thought we were in a good position.  But a couple of breaks didn’t go our way and we came up short.

Our defense still wasn’t where we need it to be.  I’m not satisfied with that. 

I thought we were better in our motion offense.  That’s why we went up in the second half and that’s why we played better. 

On UConn

They hit a couple of shots at the end of the clock….Their patience in the first half put us in the position we were in.  They were far more patient than we were, offensively.  They had the ball more and we were on defense more.  That is something we’ve challenged and battled all year long.  That patience was a big part of it, early in the game, especially.  Our patience was better in the second half.