home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 12, 2008

Keith Benjamin

Jamie Dixon

Ronald Ramon

Sam Young


COACH DIXON: Well, that's a team that we've battled three times now and came away with this one; the second one for us. So we knew what we were getting into. It was going to be a physical game. Two tough competitive teams, and senior-dominated team.
I'm just glad that we're not going to have to play against Vaughn here this week anyway. So he had a big game against us last game. He had 30 again tonight. I tell you, I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part.
He did go away for 25, so we did make him take some shots. But again, he hit some of those at the end that I was hoping he would be a little more comfortable going into the last minute or two. But that's what he does and he's a great player.
We got great performances from a number of guys. I think Tyrell Biggs was big for us in the end. We had to do some things with Vaughn, we were concerned about what he was doing. He allowed us to play a little smaller, little more versatile. And it helped us defensively.
But Levance ran the show. Did a great job by getting guys shots. And Keith, there were two seniors, Keith and Ronald, two seniors from New York, played big tonight and knocked down shots and made plays.
So again, we talked about win the battle of the boards; we got outrebounded by one. That's a challenge with that team, they're a very good rebounding team, Cincinnati. And we've got today a better job rebounding. We held them to 38% from the field, and our defense is getting better.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Keith Benjamin and Ronald Ramon.

Q. Speaking of defense, can you talk about how Sam asserted himself in those last three minutes with those blocks.
COACH DIXON: That was key. We did some things differently. Adjusted to what they were doing. We wanted Vaughn to dribble rather than shoot, make him put it on the floor. Sam became the help guy, and it did change some shots as Vaughn was not able to shoot the three. Really had to lower his shoulder, get in the lane and in some traffic which enabled Sam to help out and get some blocks there or change some shots, anyways. That was key, but I thought we defended pretty well.
If we could have knocked down -- we missed some free throws we normally don't miss, and that would have made the margin a little bit more. But that's a very good team who, again, started out a little slow this year. Got their guys back, got healthy, had their point guard out. Once they got in the league, they were as tough a team to play as anybody in the conference. And that is a very good team who we beat. Proud of our guys how we played.
Again, as I told our guys, we're playing our best basketball right now. We've won four of our last five. We've got our guys healthy. We've got Levance practicing. We're able to practice and do things we haven't done since December in this last week. So we've put ourselves in a position where we're playing our best basketball here now in March. And that's a good feeling right now. We're coming along.
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by Sam Young.

Q. Ronald, you were chasing Vaughn, going around the whole first half, doing really well on him. Then you look up and he's got 30 points. What can you say about him?
RONALD RAMON: First, he's a great player. We tried to stop him in the first half, he did a great job coming off the screens. Making sure the team defense was there. And in the second half he was just coming down trying to drive to the basket and using the ball screen pretty well. He was using the ball screen, coming to the same side and he was getting wide open shots.
We adjusted, we switched every ball screen. Then Sam and Tyrell and everybody did a good job guarding him. He still shot, you know, a low percentage, so that's what we wanted him to do. At the same time, he did have 30 points. He's a great player. So he found ways to score.

Q. Sam, did you think this game would come down to your defense?
SAM YOUNG: I think every game's going to come down to my defense and the team's defense. I knew as of late one of the guards said something about we don't block as many shots as we did in the past. I figured not just this game, but past games I tried to block as many shots as I can. And the opportunity presented itself today. And Ron is kind of a short guard coming into the paint, and I was able to get a lot of shot blocks off of him.

Q. Sam, you guys get asked this a lot, but there is a common theme of how well you guys do in this tournament. And tonight's more of the same. Could you put that into your own words what is it about the Big East Tournament that seems to bring out the best in Pitt?
SAM YOUNG: This is like our home away from home. We've got a lot of New York guys on the team. Their family comes out and supports. And they feel like they're home every time we step in the Garden.
For me, I mean, pretty much I feed off their energy. They get hyped when they play here, and they start -- I just feed off their energy, basically.

Q. Have you noticed any fatigue in DeJuan Blair?
COACH DIXON: No. I've been asked that question. They've double-teamed him. He hasn't done great against Cincinnati because of that foul trouble; he got in some foul trouble, too. Then they read him, they double-teamed the post. They didn't handle it great. But we got some other things out of it.
So he's playing very well. And he will have a big game, I'm sure, tomorrow. It's all about adjustments, foul trouble is a big key for him. But I thought he did some very good things. He got six rebounds and less minutes than he normally plays.
We figured his scoring would be down a little bit because of how they play. They double-team in the post consistently, and that's the guy we're throwing to in the post.

Q. Can you talk about what the emergence of Keith has meant to the team.
COACH DIXON: It says a lot about him as far as his work ethic. His coming into this season. He really wanted to have a great senior year. He worked very hard on the drills in the off-season, and worked in our preseason practices. Even before the injuries to Mike and Levance I was saying that he deserved to have more minutes because he was playing so well.
But right now he's taking very good shots. He's knocking down shots and he's making good decisions. And that's what we need out of him. We just need him to play bigger defensively for us because we've got the three guards out there, but that's the challenge that we face.
You know, he stuck with it. But he's been a big contributor for us for years. A lot of guys' minutes are up this year because of our numbers. But he's been a big part of our program and the success we've had for the four years even prior to this year.

Q. Can you talk about any extra motivation in your last tournament here?
KEITH BENJAMIN: It's definitely extra motivation. We sit up and we talk every day that we just don't want to go out like everybody else. We've been to the championship game a lot, me and Ron have seen it twice. Sam's seen it twice. A lot of people on this team have been in this game the last two years. We listened to Brandin, who is our director of operations now. He talks about how it took him three times and all that stuff. So the expectations are there. The emotion is very high. We just want to go out with a bang. We come in here to play basketball and play great basketball in front of family and friends, like we always do and just play hard. As long as we keep playing hard and stay together, we'll keep repeating what we do.

Q. Any of the players can talk about what you expect from Louisville tomorrow and maybe what you can do better. Your last game was a close game, but any keys to that game?
KEITH BENJAMIN: For us, it's just the same thing. We're going to come out and play hard. Last game was a fight inside of our building. Now we're at a neutral court. We can rebound the ball better than what we did last game. We can play tougher defense than what we did last game. We gave them a couple of easy looks last game.
So we're going to look to do the same things we did tonight; hold the numbers down, field goal shooting percentage, get better on the boards, look to outrebound the team. Usually when we do those things we get wins. That's what we're going to come out to do tomorrow. Play tough defense. Control the ball, because we know they press, and keep the turnovers down and rebound the basketball, and hope everything swings our way.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297