March 1, 2008

LiveBlog: Pitt-Syracuse

Filed under: Basketball,liveblog — Chas @ 12:01 pm

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.

82-77 Pitt

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.  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.  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 — especially  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”  and upsets.

This an absolute disgrace. A sub-.500 conference team is absolutely tearing us apart. This is the worst defensive effort I have seen in a while — and I’m not just talking about Pitt. I’m talking organized basketball as a whole. What the heck is going on?

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.01.08 @ 1:45 pm

zero heart on this team

Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 1:46 pm

We don’t have anybody but Ramon to put on Flynn…Wannamaker? Another freshman in the game? The problem is they have 3 guys we have to defend, and we don’t have 1 guy who can defend anyone, and our team defense is non-existant. Unreal.

Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 1:47 pm

someone kidnap blake griffin and bring him to western PA

Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 1:48 pm

Brown hit a 3!

Comment by Sean 03.01.08 @ 1:49 pm


Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 1:49 pm

…..what just happened? lol

Comment by Panthoor 03.01.08 @ 1:49 pm


Comment by Matt D 03.01.08 @ 1:51 pm

Nice…finally some effort…..fucking kill these bitches….turn this season around.

Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 1:51 pm

they gave fields that one … huge

Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 1:52 pm

Within 2 point with 2 minutes to go…defense REALLY needs to step it up right now.

Comment by Dennis 03.01.08 @ 1:52 pm

fields has heart

Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 1:53 pm

Brown’s hot. Look out Syracuse!

Comment by Sean 03.01.08 @ 1:55 pm

GILBERT BROWN!!! lets some some real pitt d in this final last mintue

Comment by Glenn 03.01.08 @ 1:55 pm

Gilbert Brown = MONEY

Comment by Matt D 03.01.08 @ 1:55 pm

was that our last time out?

Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 1:55 pm

Did we switch the bad Brown clone for the good one finally?

Comment by Panthoor 03.01.08 @ 1:55 pm

WTF was that Brown?

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.01.08 @ 1:58 pm

what was that?!?!

Comment by Glenn 03.01.08 @ 1:58 pm

I just spoke highly of Brown, but what the hell was that?

Comment by Sean 03.01.08 @ 1:58 pm


Comment by Matt D 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm


Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm


Comment by Campbell 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm

Wow! This is almost as good as Ramon’s shot to beat WVU!

Comment by Sean 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm


Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm


Comment by TMGPanther 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm


Comment by Panthoor 03.01.08 @ 1:59 pm

Holy cow. We were just gift-wrapped a victory. But I’ll take it.

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.01.08 @ 2:00 pm

Jim Boeheim getting T’d up is a great sight.

Comment by Dennis 03.01.08 @ 2:01 pm

Can’t say they don’t have heart now. What a comeback, unbelievable!!!

Comment by Campbell 03.01.08 @ 2:01 pm

This can’t be right. I just saw Sam Young play great D and get a crucial assist.

Comment by Sean 03.01.08 @ 2:01 pm

damn Young finally play some D-Fense and caused a turnover!

Comment by Jeremy 03.01.08 @ 2:01 pm


Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 2:03 pm

Jimmy B and Jamie D like to lick their lips a lot .. lol .. wouldn’t call it a great game but that’s a great fucking win right there.

Comment by MelbaPlace 03.01.08 @ 2:03 pm

fuck you gottlieb

Comment by steve 03.01.08 @ 2:03 pm

what’s going on my site just froze up?

Comment by Marco 03.01.08 @ 2:03 pm

reading the board now is so funny. anyways, seeing the team finally hit free throws was such a nice sight.

Comment by christopher 03.01.08 @ 2:04 pm

I cannot believe what I just saw. My dog and I looked at each other and just realized we were transported into an alternate timeline.

Syracuse pulled off one of the greatest chokes in NCAA history.

Comment by Panthoor 03.01.08 @ 2:05 pm


2 late game steals under the hoop + a T = Pitt wins

Comment by Campbell 03.01.08 @ 2:05 pm

We shot 88% form the free throw line

Comment by TMGPanther 03.01.08 @ 2:06 pm

Hail to pITT!

Comment by Oregon_Panther 03.01.08 @ 2:07 pm

Stuart, 80 to 79 was close!!!

Comment by TMGPanther 03.01.08 @ 2:07 pm

I dont think young caused that, it was benji…but great hustle and no look by young to get the ball and game winning assist….and fields practiced freethrows obviously while hurt….100%.

Now to hand out the FUCK YOUS:

Boeheim, i’m not sure who whines more, you or your shitty fans. No one is going to listen to your shit all summer while you cry how you were “left out” TWO YEARS IN A ROW. Win some games if you wanna play.

GOTTLEIB, for being the biggest douche in the country. You lack of knowlege is only trumped by your lack of personality. Eat shit. Try not to steal anything at work today.

We just sealed their fate, and if we can win one of the last two, seal ours. What a comeback. Hopefully that is the spark they need to turn this shit around. We need that intensity for 40 minutes a game.

(Our defense is still awful).

Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 2:07 pm

i must say i really thought Pitt was dead and NIT bound, Syracuse has big time talent but they are the poorest coached team year in and year out.

it looks like this win puts us in the big dance for sure

Comment by the capt 03.01.08 @ 2:10 pm

Miracle in the Dome

Comment by Jamie H 03.01.08 @ 2:10 pm

I was just about to mention that I thought Pitt was throwing the game with about 6 minutes to go. Its a good thing that I turned the TV back on. Wow.

Comment by matt 03.01.08 @ 2:11 pm

Make no mistake. We didn’t “deserve” this win. You can’t play hard for five out of 40 minutes and expect to win in March. That said, we could have rolled over and we didn’t. Great job Pitt!
Now let’s play some defense Monday night and sweep WVU!

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.01.08 @ 2:11 pm

Ok, I admit it..i was worried when down by 11, and yes, the D wasn’t what we wanted until the end, but the bottom-line is a huge W…the big steal at the end…Brown’s huge three with a minute left…and let’s not forget with 3 mintues left howe big was Ramon’s steal!!!

Total team win!

Hail to PITT!

Comment by Oregon_Panther 03.01.08 @ 2:14 pm

here is a suggestion….lets find a defense that we can turn to when we struggle, and a 3-2 against a team that sees it everday in practice is not it…maybe since we are somewhat undersized, maybe a full court press on occassion may work, just as a change of pace, we have the subs and guard to play it…

Comment by drgags 03.01.08 @ 2:14 pm

i meant 2-3 zone…my typo

Comment by drgags 03.01.08 @ 2:15 pm

no business at all winning that game. very exciting win, very exciting. nice work on the part of young, brown, ramon in the final minute. nevertheless, NOT the Pitt bball team I’m accustomed to seeing. and I maintain that we’re spoiled by seven years success. savor this one.

Comment by Neil 03.01.08 @ 2:27 pm

Pitt wasn’t going to the NIT if the lost. Now they are a tourney team playing for seed. Gilbert Brown was unreal in the last two minutes. The kid hasn’t hit a three in over a month and he hits two huge ones down the stretch. What a great comeback!!!!

This team has a shot to do some damage in March. They can flat out score in bunches. If Blair figures out the hedge, then we are going to be tough to beat.

Comment by omar 03.01.08 @ 2:31 pm

the capt : Boeheim did outcoach Dixon today. We were worse for the first 37 minutes. Syracuse was all over our guards, Dixon couldnt figure out how to stop them. We also werent as efficient as you would like in attacking their zone.

That doesnt mean Boeheim didnt blow the last 3 minutes, but Dixon was not the hero today.

Comment by Jamie H 03.01.08 @ 2:32 pm

Neil…the D was suspect at times, but this is one of those games that can “define” a season, as it might provide the impetus for them to believe in themselves that much more, never to give up, and realize when they play their D as well as they can, they will win!

Hail to PITT!

Comment by Oregon_Panther 03.01.08 @ 2:32 pm

I hope you’re right, Oregon_Panther. I want to belive in this team, don’t get me wrong.

Comment by Neil 03.01.08 @ 2:37 pm

What a great game for Brown’s confidence! Do you guys remember when I played for the Mavericks?

Comment by Darren Morningstar 03.01.08 @ 2:37 pm

It wasn’t coaching. The players just weren’t performing. Ramon has to anticipate on defense and we have to be better with our help. Blair needs to step-up and stop penetration on occasion. He is really struggling on d. But the things he does on the other end and his steals make up for dome of the lapses. This team hasn’t played its best ball. I think they are finally ready to peak in March. I really do.

Comment by omar 03.01.08 @ 2:42 pm

I feel bad for thinking it was over when they were down 11 late. You can say that Syracuse threw it away all you want, but Pitt could have just as easily given up and not taken advantage…the steal/over the shoulder pass by Young under the basket that gave us the lead was an amazing play.

Comment by Sunshine 03.01.08 @ 3:04 pm

There is a lot of negativity going around about that poor ESPN analyst. We should be nice to Gottlieb…poor bastard has to wake up every day and look at his sorry ass in the mirror… what a shit-pump.

Comment by Sunshine 03.01.08 @ 3:10 pm

Shit Pump??? I LOVE that comment. Gottlieb obviously sucks. Huge road win for the good guys! 5 seed??? Beat the Hoopies and make their pitiful inbred shit miserable for the rest of the year.

Comment by The Hagen 03.01.08 @ 4:06 pm

I disagree with jamie that dixon was out coached today. His offense game plan gave Pitt a lot of open looks. He doesn’t shoot the ball. The team isn’t executing his defensive schemes with any consistency. is that his fault? His calling, as he described it, “an unconventional timeout” down eleven when the next stop would have been a TV timeout turned out to be exactly the right move. He told the team – we aren’t going to quit and he kept his team focused and positive at a time when it would have been very easy to pack it in. he called for the trapping defense that led to several turnovers. I might add that his post game press conference was, as usual, a class act. he praised his teams efforts and expressed his concern for the Syr players that he knew would be hurting after such a tough loss. I don’t know about all you, but this is exactly the type of coach I want at Pitt. By the way Pitt has beaten syr 4 straight at the dome. has any team ever done that?

Comment by TMGPanther 03.01.08 @ 4:41 pm

Dixon and defense don’t belong in the same sentance. Our defense has been getting worse every year since Howland left. Now that their are no more Howland coached players on the team, we don’t play defense.

Comment by Mike 03.01.08 @ 5:10 pm

I’m torn on that one. On one hand, it may just be true. On the other hand, Howland was never forced to play 3 or 4 freshman. Thats a huge disadvantage, no matter how skilled they are.

In any case, even after two wins, we need a lot of work on D.

Comment by Stuart 03.01.08 @ 5:59 pm

i also agree that dixon did not get out coached other than the fact that our defense is not to be relied on, and as stated before we need to mix it up more, keep other teams off balance, so they dont use the pick and rolls or pops to beat us. when teams scout pitt that is all they probably work on since we have not been able to stop it. as far as timeouts…if you say, TMG, that was the first crazy TO that has worked…in the past he has wasted alot of TO’s. i would prefer to have one to use in the final 2 minutes. as far as the Gottleib comments, you know he had a valid point, pitt was not and still may not be a sure thing….a losing record in the big east and our terrible road record would definitely bring quesitons to the selection comittee. all they would need to say is since the injuries, they arent the same team, and we would have been nit bound…..with this win, should be in good shape. and for those of you who think we are playing for a seed, WAKE UP…with better teams then this PITT has never gotten a seed they should have or an appropriate draw. The comittee does not respect pitt as a program…accept it, and it is the teams job to get, and play for some respect.

Comment by drgags 03.01.08 @ 6:05 pm

I agree with your seeding aspect, drgags, but Pitt never beat Duke before. Instant prestige.

Comment by Kevin 03.01.08 @ 6:47 pm

pitt is in the rpi top 25. probably means 5 seed if they win at least one in BE tourney. probably heading for the south regional. might have to play Duke again or NC to make it to the sweet 16.

Comment by texaspanther 03.01.08 @ 10:24 pm

I will be always be hard on Dixon because I don’t think he is a good coach but it would be a great help to him if his best none freshman player, Sam Young, kept his head in the game at all times. I like sam but he plays like he is interested in the game only half of the time. And if the team leader plays this way it’s hard to get the yougers guys to play a full 40 minutes. Defense and rebounding are all a matter of which teams works harder.

Comment by Mike 03.02.08 @ 12:07 am

Sam Young has 8 steals and 3 blocks in the last two games, including the game winning steal at the end of this game. Why is it that people like to come down on Sam Young who is the only player who has consistently contributed all season? He is the one guy who hasn’t been a weak link. Sure, he has missed a dunk or made a turnover. But a bad play here or there isn’t the same as not showing up for a whole game or games at a time, which EVERY other player on the team except Young is guilty of.

Comment by The Prowler 03.02.08 @ 1:05 am


Comment by jeff 03.23.08 @ 11:11 pm

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