Post-game news and notes from the Pitt-WVU game
*** West Virginia freshman forward Kevin Noreen, averaging 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds, broke his ankle in the game.
*** Bob Huggins’ first-half technical was a miscommunication, according to the fourth-winningest active coach in Division I basketball. Huggins said he was yelling at Truck Bryant for failing to rotate on defense. Perhaps the officials heard another word that rhymes with Truck.
“I have had, obvoiously, a bunch of techicals, and I have never had one for yelling at a player for not making a rotation. I was frustrated because I have got a four-year guy who doesn’t make a rotation as much and as hard as we work and as good as we have been defensively, which he was a part of, not making a rotation.”
*** Tray Woodall showed he can do a lot more than penetrate and pass. He can shoot off the dribble and his 16 first-half points were the difference in the game.
Said Woodall, “I wasn’t really feeling it, but I wanted to be aggressive. Those guys were backing off me. Once they start pressing me, I’m pretty fast. I don’t think guys really understand how fast I am and how aggressive I can be when I want to go out here and play.”
*** Senior forward Nasir Robinson went 4 for 4 from the field. He is 13 for 13 in his past two games.
“We just did a good job of getting open on offense,” Robinson said after the game. “Coach told us to back-cut and be patient. We really just ran a motion offense. Keep moving and grind them out on our offense and we got a good shot.
*** Woodall’s rainbow 3 at the end of the first half gave the Panthers a 33-29 lead. Pitt never trailed in the second half.
“I wanted to run off the court and get my team riled up and get ready for the second half and quiet the crowd,” Woodall said.
*** Woodall said the Panthers will keep looking ahead and moving away from the eight-game losing streak.
“We just want to play basketball. Keep working and keep fighting,” he said. “Don’t worry about what everybody is writing us off. We know we are a good team. We’ve just got to keep going out there and fighting.
“We have a very short memory. I can’t even remember the score of this game right now. I just know that we won and we are getting ready for our next game.”
*** Junior Dante Taylor had eight points and seven rebounds and played excellent defense in both man and zone. Kilicli shot 6 of 13 from the field, but Taylor and Talib Zanna banged underneath all game with the 6-9, 260-pound Turk.
“I just remember how I played him in the past,” Taylor said. “He likes to go with that right shoulder and finish with the left hook. Freshman year I learned that was his move. I try to limit him to that catch and be on that side when he makes the catch and I’m already there.”
Said Dixon of Taylor:
“He played really well. They took a banging in there but kept battling.”
*** Taylor was part of two of the biggest plays in the game. In the first half, he rebounded a missed Lamar Patterson layup, missed the dunk, got his own rebound and was fouled dunking. He made the free throw to cut WVU’s lead to 17-14 when the Mountaineers were threatening to take control early in the game.
“I just tried to follow and go up strong with the dunk. I got the rebound and tried to go up strong again. I got the and-one.”
In the second half, Nasir Robinson saved a ball under the WV basket going out of bounds and flipped it to Taylor for the easy layup. The bucket put Pitt up 65-59 with 2:07 to play.
*** Here are some more post-game quotes from Taylor
On Pitt’s three-game winning streak:
“It’s great for us coming in and getting three wins back to back. We know what type of a team we are, even though we were losing. We just tried to come back in the gym and work hard. Right now we are 3-0. We don’t look at what we did in the past. We look at where we can go from here.”
On possible run to the NCAA Tournament
“I think we are capable of making it interesting. We are a good team. We just had our struggles. Now we are starting to pick up and I hope everybody is watching and ready for it.”
Jamie Dixon post-game quotes
“I’m really happy for our guys and what they’ve done and how they’ve battled and what they’ve become. his is a great example of a team continuing to battle and continuing to work.”
On WVU Coliseum
“It was just a great game to play. The whole environment was terrific. It’s an historic building with a lot of great memories.”
On WVU forwards
“Kevin Jones and Kilicli did exactly what we were afraid they might do. They hurt us inside. They pounded it inside. They run a lot of great sets. Obviously coach Huggins knows how to get the ball to his scorers and he did it all game long.”
On Pitt defense
“We threw in some zone to try to keep them off-balance and I think it was effective to a point.”
*** The game was ugly in the first half, including a 2:09 span when the teams combined for six turnovers, four by WVU and two by Pitt.
“We get on a run and we’re passing the ball and we’re playing pretty good, then some guy decides to show us he can’t dribble,” Huggins said.