Lots to get done in the morning to get to back in time.
This will be a rough one for Pitt.
12:06: Steal, but Sam Young puts up a mid-range jumper? Syracuse returns with Flynn on a 3.
12:10: Syracuse has a big advantage beyond simply being at home. Nearly a full week off. The only team in the Big East that has starters playing more minutes than Pitt. Ramon hitting an early 3 promising. Donte Green and Jonny Flynn doing the same — not so much.
Is it just me, or does it take Sam Young about 5-10 minutes to get his head fully in a game?
12:19: Sam Young being surrounded by ‘Cuse on the offensive end. If Pitt can’t penetrate or make 3s, that won’t change.
12:21: With the perimeter size with Harris and Green, Gilbert Brown should see a lot of minutes today for defense.
12:25: Crap. Blair has 2 fouls with over 10 minutes in the half.
12:30: McGhee in the game, but he was completely ignored in an offensive sequence down low. Orange playing off of him, but still they didn’t pass to him. Probably a bit of fear that he takes too long to gather for a shot.
12:37: Onuaku has been the most improved ‘Cuse player from the start of the season to this point. He’s developed quickly and very well. Just abusing Biggs and McGhee. At least Onuaku doesn’t hit FTs. He’s now out with a couple fouls with 4 minutes to halftime.
Pitt now leads 29-28 with 4:11. Brown doing a lot on defense. The refs are allowing a lot on the perimeter which helps. Brown had 3 fouls in only 10 minutes versus Cinci.
12:47: Flynn is abusing Ramon. Going in and getting brutal screens to get wide open 3s.
Young is getting aggressive on the offensive boards.
12:50: Not sure how there was no foul on Ramon or Young, but no complaints here.
Pitt trails 37-35.
Missed a big opportunity to at least tie the game. Not horrible to be down only 2 with Blair out for 10 minutes with foul troubles. He’ll at least be reseted for the second half.
Considering how hot the Orange were on 3s (5-8) I do like them to cool down in the second half on that front. Yes, the ‘Cuse are shooting well, but Pitt is getting lots of turnovers for a 3d straight game — that limits shot attempts — and makes it a bit of a trade off for Pitt.
Seeing better attacking of the zone as the game went on. Really hope Pitt can somehow shoot better on 3s. Yes, I know that would be novel these days, but…
1:03: Pitt has 11 more shot attempts than Syracuse in the first half. +6 on offensive rebounds and +5 on turnovers will do that.
Almost seems strange how Pitt’s defense has changed so much. From a team that didn’t gamble on turnovers and just made teams take tough shots to more gambling on turnovers and letting teams get out for easier scores when missing. Is it worth considering that Pitt has adjusted the defensive style to the players at this point. Trying to keep Blair out of foul trouble by being forced to defend as much inside? Young and Brown with their athleticism?
I don’t know, but the turnovers Pitt has generated have been directly related to the poor fieldgoal defense.
1:22: Suddenly Pitt is hitting some of those 3s. Syracuse actually cooling down on 3s, but they are now getting buckets inside. Pitt with a 57-56 lead with 10:44 left.
1:35: What the hell? Suddenly Pitt can’t pass the ball on the perimeter? Down 6 with under 7 minutes and a slew of throw aways that boggle the mind.
1:40: No coincidence that the Orange are even hotter offensively with Brown out in the last few minutes. That limping hopefully was worked out. Down 70-62 with under 6 minutes.
1:50: Whoah. Fields with a couple FTs. A block, Brown finally drills a 3 and then Ramon steals and lay-in on the inbound and it is now 75-71 Syracuse with 2:33.
1:59: Ugh. Brown got himself trapped and just tried to get a foul. Nothing there.
2:01: Oh, my god!!!!!!!!!
2:03: Pitt WINS???
I love Pitt, and they never gave up but…
This was a Syracuse Choke job. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It went Pitt’s way — and we all think Pitt was due for something go their way. Unbelievable.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m sure most of you noted the article that it isn’t just Ramon with a “partially torn labrum muscle,” but Gilbert Brown also has one of those. Considering how Brown ended up redshirting last year due to injuries and mono — I am already scared that Brown might be as snake bit as Ramon has been with nagging injuries that keep him from ever getting to where his talent tantalizes.
Today, though, was Brown showing so much of the potential on defense and some great efficiency on offense. He was the guy on the perimeter to shut down who ever he was on and prevent penetration.Â He finally hit some 3s. Not waiting and lining them up, but just popping to a stop and firing (“Don’t think meat, just shoot”??).
Levance Fields was abysmal shooting for 37 minutes and then just made the big plays.
Keith Benjamin found his shot today.
I think Ramon takes a lot of grief defensively at times. He isn’t a great defender, but he has been playing against the best offensive guards in the Big East for the past 2 weeks.Â Jonny Flynn also had a week to rest for the first time in a month. It showed as he finally found his legs.
A bit surprised that Wanamaker saw 0 minutes today. Especially when Brown had to come out with whatever was bothering his hip and Fields had 4 fouls. Given the way Pitt was turning the ball over in that stretch, it’s not like he would have made things worse. Defensively, at a minimum he would have been some extra fouls to give.
Syracuse did a tremendous job of taking away Blair. Only 8 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes. He was someone they continually surrounded — sagging in on their zone so there were always 3 white shirts around him. Blair, however did have 4 assists as he mostly passed out of the bad situations.
I’m very torn on Sam Young these days. I sometimes feel like I am being hypercritical of him. He is Pitt’s best offensive players and I think Pitt fans (including me) can be extra hard on the primary offensive weapon if he isn’t perfect — see, also: Gray, Aaron. He had 19 points, 3 steals and 5 rebounds. At the same time he was so weak on defense — especiallyÂ early — that it was really frustrating. Add in, the fact that he often shows little interest in even pretending to pass out of a situation when he has no good shot and at the minimum, a little voice whispers “selfish”Â and upsets.