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March 22, 2014

Jamie Dixon

Lamar Patterson

Talib Zanna


Florida – 61
Pittsburgh – 45

JAMIE DIXON:  Well, first of all, congratulations to Florida.  They're obviously a very good team, and the most physical team we've played all year long.  They beat us on the glass and beat us to loose balls and we got to give them credit.  I'm very proud of our two seniors who had great careers and really finished up strong as the year went on.  That says a lot about them, guys have improved all year long, Lamar and Talib, and they had great years and great seasons.  They provided great leadership for us.
Simply put, I was extremely disappointed in how we played.  We're a better team than what we showed today, and we have been playing better basketball.  We just didn't get it done, and I take responsibility for that.  We didn't execute well enough, we didn't rebound well enough, and as I told the guys, I'll take responsibility for that.  We didn't block out as well as we needed to, and we didn't execute offensively as well as we needed to, and again, I take responsibility for that.
We lost to a very good team, though, so take nothing away from Florida.  They're good, and there's a reason why they're the No.1 seed, the most physical, oldest team we've played all year, and they showed it.

Q.  Lamar, can you talk about the end of the half and the job that Wilbekin did overall?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  He's a great point guard.  He took care of business.  He led their team to a W.

Q.  Lamar, about Wilbekin, also, the whole Gators defense, especially in the second half, you have Young and Yeguete with their strong post play.  What did they do after the break that caused that confusion for you guys?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  I don't know.  Like I said, they just got it done.  The coach said they out‑rebounded us, they beat us to loose balls, and those are their recipes to victory, and they did it.

Q.  Talib and Lamar, you guys have had long careers.  Lamar, you're the highest player in terms of games played.  Kind of reflect on your career and what the man sitting to your right means to you and kind of how big Zanna especially this has been for you coming here from Nigeria.
LAMAR PATTERSON:  Talib is a brother to me.  Couldn't ask for a person to spend five years with.  He worked hard.  He improved over the course of his career, and it showed out on the court.  Our career, like you said, it was long, but now that it's over, I felt like it wasn't long enough.  There's not much I really can say.  I just appreciate that everything I had at Pittsburgh.
TALIB ZANNA:  As Lamar said, I mean, I have a really good relationship with him.  We've been through a lot since freshman year until now.  I just want to thank the school, University of Pittsburgh, for everything, and just being in our corner and just giving us the best career they can.

Q.  Talib, now that you've actually played Florida, could you just describe the problems they present and how good they can be moving forward in this tournament?
TALIB ZANNA:  What did you say?

Q.  Could you describe how tough Florida is and how far maybe they can advance in the tournament?
TALIB ZANNA:  I mean, the numbers doesn't lie.  They outplayed us.  They out‑executed, everything.  They got to the loose balls.  We didn't get it done.  We just have to move on, and for the younger guys, they have to step up and just come back next year and try to prove people wrong.

Q.  Can you talk about Wilbekin in that second half?  What did he do offensively that made it such a problem for you guys to defend him?
JAMIE DIXON:  Got in the lane.  Constantly, we handled the first ball screen, second ball screen and just kind of got into the lane at the end of clock and made some plays, made a couple tough shots, the one runner on the left side, that was a tough shot, and you know, I think it just became a struggle for us because of our offense.  We weren't scoring so we became harder‑‑ we had to get a stop every single time down defensively.  That led into it.  But obviously he's a senior, he's a really good player, he's been through some ups and downs, obviously, and he's had a great finish to his career, and that's what you hope happens to a kid that learns and gets better.  They played well.  I'm sure they're proud of him and what he's become, a local guy that's done well.
He played really well, and we didn't do a good job on him.  But you think he has a lot to do with it.  He's been doing a pretty good job all year long.  There's probably a trend there.

Q.  Could you talk about a lot of people think that you guys are kind of almost like the kings of the grind‑'em‑out style of basketball.  Could you talk about how Florida was able to play that style with you today?
JAMIE DIXON:  Yeah, it's something that gets talked about, but it's often times not accurate.  Offensively we've been pretty good.  Our offense has been far ahead of our defense this year, but perception is often times, people actually look at the numbers and the facts and‑‑ but yeah, that's what they do, and I think people try to find something wrong with this team at 34‑2, and there's not a lot wrong with them.  They're old, they're experienced, they're by far the most physical team we've played.  They just banged us around all game long and the bodies are evident, their size, their experienced, they're old.  They're well coached, all those things, and we just didn't execute.  We tried to cut, we tried to curl, we tried to go to the basket, and we just bounced off of them.  That was something we talked about throughout the game.  We just couldn't get it done.
They were more patient offensively, made a lot of shots at the end of the clock, at the end of possessions, and we didn't.

Q.  What makes Florida such a defensive team, and what goes into good defense?
JAMIE DIXON:  Experience.  I mean, generally your older guys are your best defenders, and we hope that we can get old again and become a better defensive team.  But that's something we've been trying to work on.
Again, I think their physicality is evident, and like I said, they're the most physical team we've played all year long.  They're big across the board.  They've got size all the way through, and they use it.  So I think that's part of it.  Their patience offensively I think helps their defense, as well.  I think that's a big thing.
You know, they change how they guard ball screens, and at times I thought that was effective against us.  The other day they got the rebounds, and it seemed like we had some opportunities in transition to go on, we had some turnovers where we fumbled the ball and didn't make the play, and that's where we needed to open up on some transition baskets on their missed threes.

Q.  Can you talk about the play right before the end of the half when you made the substitution, what Wilbekin did, whether you felt like that was a turning point?
JAMIE DIXON:  I don't know if it was a turning point.  We lost by 16 points, but it's my fault.  If there's anything that goes wrong it's my fault, and I take responsibility.  We know what happened, but we can't blame anybody else but me.

Q.  It didn't seem like you used the 2‑3 zone as much today as you have in the past.  Was there a reason?
JAMIE DIXON:  We haven't been doing that.  We've haven't been playing zone.  We've been playing better with our man and so that's something we haven't played in the last six games or so.  We've really decided to make that decision was to our defense, our rebounding, we had to be more accountable defensively with the glass and know what we were doing.  You know, our defense wasn't good enough today, but I think they had a lot to do with it:  14 offensive rebounds, we were getting beat on the glass from the first play of the game, and that to me was the biggest issue.  I don't think that was a concern.  I mean, they shot 43 percent.  We needed to get some transition baskets, score some more at the end of the press.  That would have helped us.  But I think that would have been more of a factor.
But it's obvious the game just got away from us.  But the things that were there early were the rebounding, the offensive rebounding, and even though we were down a couple and up, we were still getting out‑rebounded early, and I think that eventually got to us.

Q.  The play at the end of the half, originally you fouled and then didn't foul.  Can you take us through what the plan was there?
JAMIE DIXON:  I just spoke on it earlier.  Obviously I'm going to take full responsibility for it, but I think we all know what happened, and it's on me.  If we don't get it done, we don't get it done, and that's where it's at.  Again, we didn't get it done.  Kid made a running shot from 25 feet, but we didn't do what we‑‑ I didn't get it done.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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