February 3, 2013

Business As Usual At the Pete

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 5:48 pm

It is not that the Pete is a place that holds magical qualities that renders Syracuse unable to win. It just seems that way. The Orange have won only one game at the Pete (Damn you, 2004!).

Pitt couldn’t hit threes. They turned the ball over a ridiculous amount. Only one player even made it to double digit scoring. Steve Adams turned his ankle and took a shot to his face or eye. And Pitt won the game by ten.

They didn’t play anywhere close to a perfect game and took out a top-ten team.

“I think they’ll be difficult to beat the rest of the way,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of the Panthers. “I’ll be surprised if they lose many games. I like their team. I think it’s a very, very good team. They’re the best team we’ve played, without any question. It’s not even close.”

Pitt had plenty that they did do right.

Right from the start Pitt got out on transition and penetrated per their gameplan (they didn’t score on those drives but they got right into Cuse). The passing was constant. Pitt probed the zone and looked comfortable looking finding seams (which makes it all the more mind-boggling when they look so confused when other teams throw it at them).

Pitt committed a season-high 20 turnovers but also assisted on 19 of its 24 baskets, often passing around the perimeter and into the high post while working the shot clock.

“We just wanted to keep swinging, make that zone move, get an inside touch and keep that ball moving,” said Pitt junior forward Lamar Patterson, who had a team-best five assists. “It’s hard to guard when the ball is moving because they have to move with the ball and attack the gap. We were just taking what they were giving us.”

The turnovers — much like the scoring — was balanced. The backcourt had 11 and the frontcourt added 9. Some of that is going to be the nature of passing as much as they did. There wasn’t as much standing around and dribbling by the backcourt.

Unlike the Louisville game, the defense was sharp. They were cutting off drives and not losing their man. The Orange could not find room, and found most of their shots being contested.

Syracuse shot 37 percent from the field and only made 3 of its 14 attempts from 3-point range. C.J. Fair scored 20 points to lead the Orange, but the Panthers did a stellar job defending the backcourt duo of Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams, who combined to go 7 for 26 from the field.

The Panthers also clobbered the Orange on the boards, winning the rebounding battle, 39-24. They had 15 offensive rebounds, which limited Syracuse’s transition offense and kept the game at the tempo the Panthers wanted to play.

“Defensively, I thought we played as well as we’ve played all year,” Boeheim said. “I thought the difference in the second half was Pitt getting on the boards. They’re a tremendous defensive team. We knew we were going to have trouble scoring against them.”

Yes, Pitt absolutely dominated on the glass at both ends. Only Durand Johnson did not grab a board. Talib Zanna continues to struggle offensively, but was all over the rebounds. He finished with 12 — 6 at each end.

One of the interesting things to note from the game is that James Robinson only played 18 minutes — which probably was a contributing factor to the number of turnovers. First half foul troubles played some role in that, but he only played 8 minutes in the second half. He’s definitely struggling to be a factor offensively, but more than that, the much improved play of Trey Zeigler has been eating into his minutes.

Zeigler is contributing more on offense and is not the defensive liability he was to start the season. With Woodall and Patterson out there with Zeigler, Pitt still has guys who can pass and distribute. Then there is the return of Cam Wright to the backcourt rotation.

In the middle of January, Cameron Wright had fallen out of favor with Pitt’s coaching staff. A big contributor off the bench in the first half of the season, Wright played one minute against Villanova, four minutes in the next game against Connecticut and then did not play at Providence.

Coach Jamie Dixon announced the next day that Wright was going to be back in the rotation and playing a regular role. Saturday at Petersen Events Center, Wright rewarded his coach by making the biggest shot of the game in Pitt’s 65-55 Big East Conference victory against No. 6 Syracuse.

Yeah, go figure. Wright drilled a huge three and made two free throws when Steven Adams got clobbered and had to leave the game — Wright was picked to shoot the free throws by Jim Boeheim.

The Hall of Fame coach chose Cam Wright, who came into the game as a 47.6-percent foul shooter (10 of 21). Wright hit both foul shots.

“I had a feeling he was going to pick me,” Wright said. “But we practice free throws so much day in and day out, I was confident.

“I was actually happy that he did pick me — a couple extra points.”

On the free throw front, kind of a disappointing 14-21 shooting. Yes, far better than the overall number at the Louisville game. But this time Adams, Zanna and Zeigler did not shoot free throws — so you would expect better numbers. Lamar Patterson inexplicably was 1-5 on free throws.

Thanks, Chas. Much, much more interesting than the superbowl…especially since my boxes are full of 5s and 8s!

Comment by steve1 02.03.13 @ 7:06 pm

Well we should know who are next DC is soon
i would think in the next 3 days at the most
any longer than that will drive me nuts.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.03.13 @ 7:13 pm

Watching the DVR. Guess who recommended that Wright shoot Adams’ foul shots?

Gerry McNamara

I was at the Garden when he beat us in the BET.


Comment by steve1 02.03.13 @ 7:35 pm

Steve1 , I have the same numbers, now how did that happen?

Comment by frankarms 02.03.13 @ 8:10 pm

The story of my life. Hopefully not yours too.

Comment by steve1 02.03.13 @ 8:13 pm

I was a VERY BIG WIN for the Panthers! Despite the turnovers they continued to play tough defence. I love the way Jamie Dixon handles the Syracuse zone. You can’t say it was Chevon Troutman or Nasir Robinson or whoever else is making the key plays. Over the last 10 years, Pitt has cosistantly penetrated the Syrcuse like no one else does. I think was an especially big win because, but for a horrible day shooting free throws they could have beaten Louisville. Winning one those two games was important for Pitt’s post season resume’.

Comment by Justinian 02.03.13 @ 8:20 pm

Should be a confidence builder for this young team. And if they focus tomorrow, they should win in a blow out.

Comment by Velvil 02.03.13 @ 8:24 pm

Chinese hackers.

It would never have happened if it were table tennis.

Comment by steve1 02.03.13 @ 8:42 pm

Alright…what are the 5s and 8s? I feel like I should know this.

Comment by panther94 02.03.13 @ 8:52 pm

panther94, have you ever gambled on 10 X 10 Superbowl grids?

If not, too confusing to explain on a Sunday night.

Comment by steve1 02.03.13 @ 8:57 pm

Turn off the lights the party’s over

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.03.13 @ 9:01 pm

Thanks for the explanation. I don’t gamble much because I always lose.

Comment by panther94 02.03.13 @ 9:03 pm

Parrish (CBS) has Pitt #18.
Will the AP and Coaches concur?

Comment by xfmrman 02.03.13 @ 9:31 pm

But wait, I’m still alive with 7 boxes. My 8/3 wins the 3rd Q!!!

Hail to me!!!!

Comment by steve1 02.03.13 @ 9:51 pm

Parrish has been a believer all year. And yes, Pitt should be top 25.

Comment by Velvil 02.03.13 @ 10:03 pm

Marquette (25) and San Diego State (22) lost. Should open up a spot for us.

Comment by Scott 78 02.03.13 @ 10:20 pm

Joe Flacco just pulled a Tyler Palko.

Comment by Scott 78 02.03.13 @ 10:47 pm

What is Palko doing now? How did our coaches not see Flacco’s talent?

Comment by MariettaMike 02.03.13 @ 10:57 pm

I thought with Kapernick would have run a couple of times when they were on the 5 yard line. Any way you slice it, there was interference on the 4th down. The refs just didn’t have guts to make the call. It would have 1st down on the 2 yard line.

Comment by Justinian 02.03.13 @ 10:58 pm

there was a story a couple days ago in one of the Pgh papers that when flacco left in 05, one of the Pitt coaches went to his house in New Jersey to try to convince him to stay but he was convinced he wouldn’t get a chance until his final year.

Comment by wbb 02.03.13 @ 11:00 pm

pitt my not have 29 to give as we all thought
just read in the trib that QB boyle wont be comeing to pitt becuse pitt has no scholarship to give him this is per his high school coach.

so may be we can only give 27 how abought that.
boyle is a 3 star who was commited to boston.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.03.13 @ 11:01 pm

I’ve always wondered what good is instant replay when the mots important and obvious calls can’t be replayed.

Comment by wbb 02.03.13 @ 11:02 pm

Frankcan, remember I brought that issue up when we offered that non-rated LB from Wisconsin last week. Now what happens if foster decides to flip –but I’m sure they’ll find room

Comment by wbb 02.03.13 @ 11:04 pm

Iam glad ravens won i did not want san fran to tie pittsburgh with 6 super bowl wins .
so now we still have the most super bowl wins with 6 love the steelers right after pitt .

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.03.13 @ 11:07 pm

Wbb you did but i thought we had 29 but you were right had i known that i would have been with you.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.03.13 @ 11:10 pm

This team is still pretty inconsistent as it doesn’t have one player you know is going to score 15-20 points. Therefore I wouldn’t be looking past Seton Hall who just gave Cincy fits before losing.

SH’s 2nd leader score is 6-9, 290 lbs. Kiwi Steve better be prepared for that load in the paint. Teague averages 12 & 8.
Their leading scorer (Edwin) is a 6’6″ guard/forward type who averages 17 & 6.
And they’re pretty deep, playing 8 guys.

So we can’t be caught flatfooted, still celebrating the big win over Cuse.

Wow the Niner cheerleaders were so hot. All sorts of diversity there. Hope we get Tomsula.


Comment by EMel 02.04.13 @ 2:43 am

Nice. You combined a litle flava w/ DC talk. Are the cheerleaders a package deal w/Tomsula? HTP

Comment by DC33 02.04.13 @ 8:37 am

Interesting with James Robinson and his minutes. I get the impression this is how Dixon might’ve envisioned things before the season began, with Ziegler being more of a factor on offense and defense, and as a result Robinson not being as prominently involved. That’s why it was so surprising for many when Robinson got the starting not right from the get go.
I think if Ziegler continues to play this well the rest of the way, I like him at the “2” as our best lineup, with either Woodall or Robinson running the show at the 1. (I just wish he was at least somewhat of an outside threat — it’s obvious how little respect opposing defenses have for him when he’s on the perimeter.)

Comment by JW 02.04.13 @ 8:50 am

wbb, On that 4th down play the was defensive holding where he grapped the reciever and pass interference when he bear hugged him whilr the ball was in the air. Both infractions were beyond the 5 yards. The catchable ball arguement would not apply to defensive holding. Regardless of which team you liked, he 49ers got jobbed.

On another note, Wannstedt admitted that even though he really wanted Joe Flaco to stay at Pitt, he didn’t think he would have beaten out Tyler Palko for starting quarterback. At that time Joe Flaco was behind Tyler Palco and Luke Getsky. Both Getsky and Flaco ended up transfering out. Getsky to Akron and Flaco to Deleware. In retrospect, Flaco made the right move, because he got to play and got drafted.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.13 @ 8:53 am

Actually boeheims staff selected wright. “Cameron Wright” was mouthed to Coach B. It’s not as if the foul shots were pure. But hey, you don’t score extra for style.

Comment by SFPitt 02.04.13 @ 10:01 am

Justinian, revisionist history. Getsy left a year before Flacco, and Flacco left after the 2005 Spring game and never played behind Palko under Wanny excpet for that Spring game. And you certainly couldn’t blame the coaching staff for instaling Palko as No. 1 for that spring game being that he just took Pitt to a BCS game as a sophomore.

Fact is placing any blame on Wanny for Flacco is just another example of unwarranted Wanny bashing which has permeated thru this site for the last several years. He certainly had his faults but, like it or not, until prove otherwise, his firing was a big mistake.

Comment by wbb 02.04.13 @ 11:49 am

At least we have done well enough that I don’t have to read posts calling to replace Jamie Dixon.I hope tonight we do a better job of handling the ball and cut our turnovers.Other than that this team is getting better and is now a factor in the Big East race.With continued improvement the Sweet 16 isn’t a stretch and with the what is going on nationally who knows what the ceiling could be.Adams is starting to catch on and Zanna showed signs of reemerging.The bench is coming up huge and I thought Woodall looked great against the Orange.Our freshman are sensational and Taylor is having a real nice season off the bench.I really like this team.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.13 @ 3:18 pm

the team is now ranked in both polls (not that it is that big deal at this time) but more importantly, it does indeed seem to be improving. And it still has much room to improve IMO, and I am very anxious to see what this team becomes in March

Comment by wbb 02.04.13 @ 3:24 pm

ESPN talks about Adams and other Frosh’s…

link to

Comment by Jackagain 02.04.13 @ 3:43 pm

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