Dixon: Golden Eagles' experience an advantage
MILWAUKEE — Jamie Dixon doesn't know exactly why Marquette has Pitt's number this season, sweeping the Big East season series by beating the Panthers at their own game.
But he does have an interesting explanation.
Dixon went down the Golden Eagles' roster, noting the frontcourt includes fifth-year senior center Chris Otule, redshirt junior Jamil Wilson and backup junior center Davante Gardner. That trio combined for 31 points and 15 rebounds.
Dixon noted guard Vander Blue, who scored a game-high 19 points and had six rebounds, is a junior. And swingman Trent Lockett, who had 11 points, is a senior who transferred from Arizona State. They play in the backcourt with Junior Cadougan, another senior.
“I think they've got a good team. They're well-coached. They've got depth. They're older,” Dixon said. “They've done what we did for awhile there: stay old.”
Going too small?
Dixon dwelled on losing the battle of the boards, a point of emphasis all season. The Panthers led the Big East in rebounding margin (plus-4.8) but were outrebounded for the second consecutive game.
Marquette finished with 33-24 edge, including 18-10 by halftime. It didn't help that the Golden Eagles also shot 56.5 percent from the field (26 of 46) and 75.9 percent on free throws (22 of 29).
“We've got to outrebound people,” Dixon said. “They shot 61 percent, didn't miss any free throws (in the first half). As the game went on, they continued to get to the free-throw line. ... Maybe we thought we could get one done without doing the things we do well.”
Senior point guard Tray Woodall blamed a rotation that saw 6-foot-6 backup J.J. Moore log more minutes (23) than 6-9 starter Talib Zanna (17) at power forward. Moore finished with one rebound, while Zanna had four.
“I think we went too small at times,” Woodall said. “We were smaller, having J.J. at the ‘four.' Talib, who is our four-man, played about 17 minutes. He's a rebounding machine. He's one of the guys we're rebounding with.”
Dixon draws a ‘T'
Dixon was asked what he said to referee Tim Clougherty, whose ear he was chirping in all game, to draw a technical foul with 6:05 remaining and the Panthers trailing, 63-50.
“That was my first one in I don't know how long,” Dixon said. “I congratulated him on that. I hadn't had one this year. It was no bad language, you can be sure. Pass that along to my mom.”