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Syracuse Defeats Pitt: Quotant Quotables

The No. 1 Syracuse Orange defeated the No. 25 Pittsburgh Panthers 58-56 on Wednesday thanks to a buzzer-beater by Tyler Ennis. Here are the quotes to prove it...

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Jim Boeheim on the defensive nature of Syracuse vs. Pitt:

"Our offense could not get anything going all night because of Pitt’s defense. I think the major reason we have trouble with Pittsburgh is because they play great defense. They’ve just played great defense against us over the years. Everyone wants to talk about offense and their offense against us. Our defense was fine all night. Win or lose, our defense was excellent."

On Syracuse's late-game success all season long:

"We’ve played good in-game situations all year, probably the way we’ve played for the first 36, 37 minutes of most games. We probably should be about 20-4 or 19-5, but in the last three or four minutes we’ve been just about perfect in all those situations. We’ve been down four or five, three or four, six or seven times this year and we’ve been able to finish games. On the last play, we wanted to go to C.J., the second option was Tyler, and there was enough time to dribble down. It worked for Duke against us and it worked tonight. What can I say? It was a great basketball game with two teams that gave everything they had out there."

On whether or not Ennis' shot was lucky.

"It’s a little lucky, but I didn’t hear Duke saying they were lucky when they drove up the length of the court and made an off-balanced three to tie the game. I didn’t hear anybody saying they were lucky. You have to do it. You have to make the play. The ball goes in. That’s not luck. He took the shot and he made the shot. He didn’t throw it from half-court or three-quarters court. That’s not lucky. He dribbled it up, he had a purpose, he got up in the air and he took a good shot, and it went in. It happens sometimes, but he was poised to do it. They took a timeout to set their defense up and it helped us get something set up too. We were really going to try and throw it long, and that’s what we wanted to do, and then (Tyler Ennis) was the second option. Unlike most coaches, we had never practiced that play."

On whether or not he thought it was going to go in...

"I don’t think those shots are going to go in, really I never do. When he shot it, I saw his release, and when I saw the ball, I thought it was going in. Honestly, I said, "That’s going in." It could’ve rimmed out very easily, but when he shot it I thought, "Yeah, that’s going to go in." Tyler (Ennis) is a tough kid."

On all of the different Orange who have stepped up along the way.

Everybody on this team makes a play. It’s not one or two; it’s everybody that’s capable. I thought (Rakeem) did a great job tonight. He’s been a little bit reckless sometimes, but tonight he was very good. I thought Michael Gbinije was very good. I thought he came in and gave us a great first half. I thought he really played well in the first half. That was really good. This team has made plays, and really, honestly, in all reality, if we hadn’t played pretty good at the end of games we’d be 20-4, or 19-5, maybe. We’ve won every one and it hasn’t been like we’re even in those games. We’ve been behind in those games. It’s just been that kind of a team. They’ve made plays when they’ve had to make plays on both ends."

Tyler Ennis on that final shot.

"I’ve been in that situation before, but obviously not at this level, but I’ve been practicing that shot before in the gym and actually I had a practice of that shot at halftime with a similar situation running down and it went off the rim. I made it the second time around though."

On whether the two free-throws late in the game or the half-court shot was more nerve racking.

"They’re equal (laughs). We practice free-throws a lot, so you have to have confidence and you might miss a few in a big moment, but you have to have confidence. That shot you don’t really know where it’s going to come from, how far you’re going to get down the court or if they’re going to double-team you so I’d probably say the shot because you don’t know where it’s going to be."

C.J. Fair on Tyler's big shot.

"I was under the hoop about to go for the tip and I saw it go in and I got hoarse in five seconds. I was so ecstatic, I’ve never been part of something like this and I’m just glad we got the win."

Jerami Grant on the final play.

"I felt like it was going in. I don't know how to explain it. I just felt like the shot was good.''

Jamie Dixon on the final play.

"Last second decisions are always going to be questioned, but I thought we did everything we could to make it more difficult. I don’t know if that timeout gave them the opportunity to say, "OK, let’s catch the ball deep, dribble up the floor, and hit a forty-footer with two guys on us. I don’t think that is what they were saying in the huddle, but if it is, I guess that is why he has 900-something wins. I will be the guy to take the blame if the timeout is the reason that we lost."

Boeheim on where the finish ranks all-time.

"Pearl is the only one I can remember making a long shot (to win a game at the buzzer), His was a little longer, but I think that game was tied. So, when you're down one and you make one … I can't remember, really. Eleven hundred games. We must have won one (like this) some place."

Ennis on what he said to the crowd during his celebration.

"I want to see what I was saying. I don't remember. Jerami asked me what I was yelling,. They said I gotta work on my celebration. I gotta think of a few for the next time."