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March 7, 2017

Kevin Stallings

Michael Young

Sheldon Jeter

Chris Jones

New York, New York

Pitt - 61, Georgia Tech - 59

COACH STALLINGS: Proud of how we stuck together and fought through. These two guys made some plays for us going down the stretch. Chris Jones made some big plays, as did Jamel. I thought Jonathan Milligan came off and gave us good minutes off the bench.

We didn't play great, but I don't think that you look great too often against Georgia Tech. I think they scrum the game up a little bit. I think that's part of the beauty in how they play.

But we fought, and we were able to make plays, do just enough to win the game.


Q. Sheldon, you told us a couple days ago that you wouldn't know necessarily what kind of mental state the team was in until you got here, walked into the arena. What did you see today when that happened?
SHELDON JETER: We were upbeat, came out ready to play. Sole focus was, you know, just winning by any means. So it was a very positive mindset going in.

Q. Michael, when you have given up the lead late in games previously, you struggled to get it back. What made the difference in this one?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Defense. Kept getting stops even though the offense wasn't clicking. Get some good shots, good looks. It was our defense and our discipline. We fought really, really hard. We came up with some big stops. I think that contributed to us being able to get the lead back.

Q. You started off strong. What do you attribute to Georgia Tech's ability to come back and battle you throughout the rest of the game?
MICHAEL YOUNG: They attacked the whole game. Down 20, up 20, they going to keep attacking, push the ball up, attack, get up to the rim. Lammers, he's a load inside as far as rebounding the ball. Like I said, they attacked the whole game, no matter what the score is.

That's a tough team to play. They got great guards. They play really well together. Great chemistry. They fought hard the whole game. We fought hard as well. It came down to the wire.

Q. Michael, you've had a long and fairly illustrious career at Pitt. I know this season probably hasn't gone as well as you would have liked. At this stage of the game, is there something about not wanting it to end that drives you and the other seniors on the team?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Yes, for sure. This is it for us. Regular season is over. We can't get none of those games back. We just got to move forward.

We believe, our coaches believe, this whole program believe that we can do something special in this tournament. That's what we came here to do. That's what I believe we're going to do.

Just for the seniors, this is our last go-around. Every game is our last game. If we lose, we go home. We just got to fight. You got to have that desire to play every possession like it's the last play of the game like it's your last.

Q. Michael, because seniors and making important plays at the end of the game, it's a three-point margin. Artis commits the foul with two seconds left in the game. Seems like a wise move. Was that something you talked about or do you think he did it out of instinct?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Something we talked about. Coach always keeps us prepared for moments like that. We go over numerous situations that may come up in the game. Coach keeps us prepared.

COACH STALLINGS: We actually called timeout before Cam's second free throw and said, He's going to make it, but in the event it doesn't go in after he makes it, then we have to foul them just before the ball gets across halfcourt.

That was the entire reason that the timeout was taken. We've practiced it. But we executed it very well.

Q. Coach, you described Georgia Tech as a team that will scrum it up. You'll face another team that will scrum it up tomorrow, for the second time in five days. How optimistic are you after the performance tonight?
COACH STALLINGS: Oh, I don't have any more or less optimism based on what happened tonight. My optimism will come on a continued commitment for these guys to be united and be together in their approach to playing whatever game we play. Now it's Virginia.

I thought we were a more together basketball team tonight than we had been in a while. Put it that way. And I thought that togetherness carried us through to win, even though you look down and we're six of 23 from three, and we have almost twice as many turnovers as they have.

But we fought together. We guarded together. We tried to share the ball together. We had some guys make big plays. These guys made big plays.

I think when you approach the game right, more things go right for you. I thought we approached the game right. As a consequence, I thought more things went our way.

Q. Sheldon, you got a little banged up midway through the second half. Seemed when things were going bad, Georgia Tech went up by four, when you come back in, that kind of sparked the team to come back. What were you going through on the bench? What was it like to get back in the game?
SHELDON JETER: When I was on the bench, I'm pretty sure Chris and Mel both hit big threes while I was out. They kind of held the line.

We got back in, we had the momentum already. It wasn't really me getting back in that sparked whatever. They had already started it while I was on the bench.

Q. Michael, you have had mixed results against UVA this year. Obviously the last result is pretty fresh in your mind. What is your approach going in there? After the game on Saturday, is there a way to represent a better showing four days later?
MICHAEL YOUNG: We going to prepare for every game the same way. Scout the team, watch film, go over what they like to do. This will be our third time playing them. We know them pretty well.

But just scout the team, go over everything that we need to do. The coaches will get us prepared to play the game. Some of the actions they may like to do, things that we may have advantage at doing.

From there, we just got to prepare for the game how we prepared for this one. Just come in together, knowing we have to play hard, every possession out. Know we need everybody, from the starters to the last guy on the bench, we're going to need everybody to win the game.

Q. Kevin, you said the way your group played tonight, they were more unified than they've been in a long time. Why haven't they been unified? Why did they come together tonight?
COACH STALLINGS: The first part, I don't have an answer for. The second part, I think seniors feel urgency. I think the tournament represented sort of a different beginning, a different start.

I think that they kind of took it upon themselves to approach this a little bit differently, a little better. Our practice sessions were really good and productive leading up to this game. They were better than they had been in a couple weeks probably.

But that's why we haven't been sort of behind us. The only thing we really need to do or the only thing we can do is try to be better going forward.

Q. Kevin, you were 1 for 11 from the three-point range in the first half. Maybe conventional wisdom would be not take as many. Five from 12 in the second half. What was the difference there in the second half from beyond the arc?
COACH STALLINGS: Well, they were in front of us. You know, I don't know.

I think when one guy hits one... Jones hit two. Mike hit one. I think Mike and Jamel hit back-to-back ones, isn't that right? That was kind of the umph that we needed.

But Jones made a couple big shots for us. That was really nice to see, because he's the only good player that I know that can go through playing 36 minutes in a game and take one shot. We encourage him to be more aggressive. He was tonight. The ball went in for him. We needed all of them.

We just did a little better job in the second half. I think when Chris made one or two, then Mike, you know, you kind of feed off each other. You keep seeing each other miss, then it detracts from your confidence a little bit. When they go in, I think it adds to your confidence.

Q. Kevin, I'm sure the focus going in was to stop Lammers or limit him.
COACH STALLINGS: We had small guys switch off on him. Our help side was better. These guys were very alert.

It's probably the reason we won the game. You look down, he got six points. So Ryan Luther helped in that regard. Our guards got switched on him some. We just got down there and fought. We have fought and we helped each other. We played together on defense, just like we tried to play together on offense. It made a big difference.

Q. Mike and Sheldon, what does it signify for you guys to win a game like this, where you shoot below 40%? Going into tomorrow, what does this kind of a win signify for y'all?
MICHAEL YOUNG: It reaffirms that we know as a team, no matter what the situation is, come together, play hard, execute, we'll have a chance at winning the game, down or up. Taking it into the next game, no matter what the score is, what the situation is, down or up, to keep playing, execute, play hard, play together.

SHELDON JETER: I believe it shows a little bit of growth more than anything else. A week ago we played them, kind of the same story as we did in the first half. The second half, they came out and shot 60-something percent. Today in the second half we held them to 34%.

I believe that's what showed to me, the growth, especially defensively.



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