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February 27, 2007

WVU-Pitt: Open Thread

Filed under: Basketball,Big East,Conference,liveblog — Chas @ 7:02 pm

Let’s get started.

7:04: Any question as to the importance of this game to Pitt. Dixon didn’t start Hudson on Senior night.

7:11: Gray now 0-4 on FTs.

7:18: 10:49 until the half, Pitt now behind 11-9. It’s not going to be a blowout. Both teams playing tight.

7:20: Fields may have to play the whole game. Pitt handles WVU on both ends much more efficiently with him in there. I’m not kidding. When he went out, Pitt fell behind. As soon as he got back in there, Pitt got the lead right back. The whole team looks to flow much smoother.

7:34: Good grief. Fields is out, and sure enough Pitt fall behind again. Graves may have hit a 3 or a 2, 2:51 left to the half, Pitt down 27-26 or 25.

7:47: Pitt trails 32-29 at the half. All things considered, not horrible. Both teams are 13-24. The difference is quite literally 2 free throws and 1 more 3 made (though the same shooting % — 4-12 vs. 3-9).

The bad news is that WVU is shooting over 50%. While the 7 TOs by Pitt isn’t great, against WVU it isn’t horrible.

Good news, only 4 fouls by Pitt — no one has more than 1 foul. WVU actually has fouled more — a rarity. Smalligan and Ruoff each have 2. Pitt has the edge on rebounding 17-9 (6-2 on offensive boards). Gray and Kendall are doing some damage inside and from short-range (14 points combined, 3 assists and 12 rebounds). Ramon has his stroke so far; and after starting shaky and not looking confident, Graves seems a little more settled. 12 assists on 13 scores — Cook and Fields each have 3.

Obviously I’d prefer a lead, but I like most of what I’m seeing from Pitt. Just keep Fields out there a lot more. Pitt does need to be better on the passing, and they have to go to the ball, not wait for it to get to them. WVU can reach.

8:07: Pitt up 38-32, 16:19 remaining. If Gray could hit free throws… Ah, well that’s kind of an old complaint. Pitt has been in their faces on defense, and driving the basket. Getting the Mountaineers in early foul issues. 4 fouls on WVU in under 4 minutes. For WVU, that is a big deal. They just don’t foul.

8:10: Oh, Gray wants this game. He hit the floor to save the ball and tossed it off a Mountaineer’s shin to keep it at Pitt’s end. He already has a double-double.

8:28: Pitt up 54-51, just under 8 minutes left. Nothing to really say. This game will go down to the end. Just hope Smalligan fouls out soon.

8:40: Pitt up 66-53, 3:38 left, though the Hoopies heading to the FT line. Levon Kendall in the first half, Biggs was great on offense in his spell (if he could just match it on the defensive side) and then Mike Cook with 12 second half points.

8:51: under a minute. Chants of “We want Doyle!”

8:55: Pitt wins 80-66.

9:00: Now that’s the way to rebound from a tough loss on the road. That’s the way you want to close out the season at the Pete for the Seniors.

Jamie Dixon: We played a lot better in the second half. Guard and penetration wasn’t very good in the first half.

Dixon just mentioned RPI and that he checked. Heh. Tell me coaches don’t pay attention to all that stuff.

Dixon said that Young was little banged up and couldn’t go in the second half.

Fields needs to know he’s the guy that is the catalyst and has to know that he makes the team go.

9:03: Safe to say, that Pitt came out angry and ready to play in this game. The defense really picked up in the second half.

The unofficial stats show that Pitt had an astounding 24 assists on 29 baskets. Graves with 6 and Fields and Cook each with 5.
I would have liked to have seen Kendall get one more rebound to get a double-double.

If Gray could have hit the FTs everyone would feel even better about this game. The good news, besides him going 5-7 with 12 points and 13 rebounds was that he only played 26 minutes. As much rest as he can give that ankle is always a plus.





Yeah, Omar, I agree with you about Graves. I didn’t see the game tonight, but I’ll assume from your comment he had another off night.

On a larger scale, one thing that bothers me is the slumps we’ve seen from not only him, but many of our players:

Kendall – Has played better as of late, but played horribly early this season.

Young – Had that terrible stretch of games where he hardly produced at all.

Graves – Has been in a slump for the past 4-5 games now.

Ramon – Shot poorly for a few games in a row recently.

Cook – Had several poor games in a row.

The only ones that I don’t think have had prolonged slumps are Fields and Gray (and to a lesser extent, Ramon). I’m not counting Biggs and Benjamin because I don’t see them as major contributors.

I understand all teams have players that go through slumps, but this team just seems like almost anyone on any given night can have a terrible night. The good news is that we have a pretty balanced team and if someone falters, a lot of times, someone else can step up.

But the slumps are worrying me quite a bit because in the tournament, it only takes one off night.

Comment by PittHoops 02.27.07 @ 9:53 pm

Geeman, I think it’s all about trying to get people to buy ESPN-U. I bet, though, that the game drew better ratings than they would normally get, giving them incentive to do it again. I think Pitt has to bend over and take whatever the Disney networks give them.

Comment by Kevin 02.27.07 @ 9:58 pm

Hey, I’m disappointed. I came here to read Stuart’s insightful posts about those “Pitt bums” mailing it in, and there’s no trace. Where’d he go?

Comment by baudolino 02.27.07 @ 10:10 pm

During warmups Pitt came out HOT, all players were throwing down NBA dunks,360’s tomahawks,off the board dunks, it went on for the whole warmup time.Must have been for Senior Night.It was awesome.We got some kids that can throwdown. Also I noticed Young did not play in the second half and sat on the bench with an icepack on his knee. Could it have been the pregame dunkfest? He was throwing down some tremendous dunks.So he hurt himself doing it.After game interview Dixon said his knees were aching.

Comment by Buzz 02.27.07 @ 10:18 pm

This must be a record for most comments during a Pitt WIN.

Comment by Sean 02.27.07 @ 10:50 pm

baudolino, I just got home from the game, give me a minute to read all the posts before i comment.

Comment by Stuart 02.27.07 @ 10:52 pm

Hi guys.

Who wins the reg-season title if G-Town and Pitt win ther last game? What is the tiebreaker to determine top seed in thr BE Tourney? Thanks.

Todd_Pitt_Fan

Comment by Todd 02.27.07 @ 11:01 pm

its a win vs WVU, plus it wasnt on local tv, so people have a reason to come to this site for some insight and to bitch a bit that they cant watch the game (and rightfully so). that probably has alot to do with the number of posts. plus now is when college hoops picks up and games start to mean alot more.

Comment by matt 02.27.07 @ 11:05 pm

My insight about the bums:

First half was pretty terrible, seemed to continue our last 5 games.

Second half, turned it around (obviously). If we continue to play like the last .5 games, we’ll be ok. If we play like the previous 5.5 games, not so well. Only time will tell which is the fluke.

I’m glad they finally figured it out about taking the ball down low (although i’d still like to see more). The shooting – Graves not so good, Biggs shot may turn out to be fools gold. I’m not ready to turn the green light back on. I still think they should run the offense through Gray on every possession – its funny watching it in person, everyone yelling the same thing – get the ball to the 7 foot guy, 2 ft from the basket, that seems like a good idea. There were times when guys barely 6ft5 (like f. young) were guarding him in the post, and still no dump down!

I’m happy for them that they FINALLY didn’t mail it in – like they have in the past, which even they will admit. (See last game last year).

Hopefully good things will continue, but i’ve been around here for two long. Hopefully this is the “turn around” and not just half a game of junk. I also hope i don’t have to complain about them “mailing it in” for the marquette game – if they win that, and shoot well, i’ll be much more comfortable about the rest of the year…wishful thinking here, but maybe this is the beginning of the “peak” that we need.

Now that there are no more home games, time to worry about that damn donation again.

Stuart

Comment by Stuart 02.27.07 @ 11:06 pm

sorry – “two” was supposed to be “too” – normally i proofread…and type engrish goood…

Comment by Stuart 02.27.07 @ 11:11 pm

Todd_Pitt_Fan: As stated before, if two teams are tied in record, first its head to head record. Since Pitt/GU is a split, it goes to our records against the next best team in the conference. Right now thats Louisville, GU has a better record against them, so GU would be 1, us 2.

Here’s the short of it: If we take care of business, we’re number 2, or number 1 if GU loses to uconn. Otherwise we’re 3 or 4, depending on who wins/loses.

Comment by Stuart 02.27.07 @ 11:14 pm

Actually, with tonight’s win, we can’t be worse than #3 in the BET. #4 is out of the question. Witness this:

Win @ Marquette, GT loses to UConn = #1
Win @ Marquette, GT beats UConn = #2
Lose @ Marquette, UL beats SHU = #3
Lose @ Marquette, UL loses to SHU = #2

All the other BE teams already have 5 losses or more.

Comment by baudolino 02.27.07 @ 11:34 pm

another panther suspended:

link to pittsburghlive.com

Comment by scoocher 02.28.07 @ 12:16 am

baudolino is right, i didn’t look at it that thoroughly before posting…

What looks to be very sick, is that if we lose to MU and end up as the 3 seed, we’ll most likely play the winner of MU/Uconn tourney game…so its likely we get marquette again, the very next game we play…

We had better learn how to beat them soon…or we could finish the season with 2 straight loses…

Comment by Stuart 02.28.07 @ 1:30 am

I can’t think about football right now! Nice win loved the NIT chant!

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 02.28.07 @ 1:31 am

Just got back from the celebrating the win. Gray def. still didn’t get the ball enough, especially since they were covering him with smaller guys a lot of the night. There were times I saw Nichols or Franklin Young end up on him and they still wouldn’t get him the ball. I know not a lot of people see it this way because he’s like a big awkward goof, but he’s what seperates us from everyone else. Take Gray off this team and we’d have a tough time beating WVU.

Comment by J-Maile 02.28.07 @ 1:36 am

the gazzette said that sams knees are bothering him again….we need him the next 4 weeks, i hope they improve…………………..

Comment by Schoe 02.28.07 @ 8:07 am

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