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November 2, 2013

Cruising In A Comfortable Win

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 9:35 am

Only major program to lose an exhibition game this year? UNLV, last night. Remember being annoyed with UNLV because Khem Birch transferred there? Or how Pitt lost out to UNLV for the services of Savon Goodman — now quitting the team after 1 year suspension following felony burglary charges. Yeah, sometimes it all works out with what you “lose.”

Exhibition recap now. Media run through for football later. Pitt-GT tonight. It’s going to be a busy day, so I’ll keep this kind of short since I have to head out to get my growler filled so I can get through the day.

It wasn’t even close this time. Pitt worked over Slippery Rock. Never gave them even a chance to think there was a chance. Slippery Rock is a decent D-II team. People who know say they are better than University of San Diego. Unfortunately for the Rock, they played Pitt in the second exhibition game. After Pitt got a bit more serious.

Pitt came out strong and did not let up the entire time.

The Panthers led start to finish, held a big halftime lead and came away with a 96-60 victory.

The onslaught started early with freshman forward Michael Young drilling a 3-pointer from the corner in the opening minute. Pitt opened a double-digit lead before six minutes ticked off the clock.

“The focus of the week since last Friday was improvement,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “We obviously accomplished that.”

Dixon was impressed in particular with the Panthers’ “patience and understanding” on defense against The Rock, a program that was 23-9 last season.

Pitt kept building a bigger lead. Taking it the difference to over 40 in the final minutes before emptying the bench — even letting all three walk-ons play at the same time in the final minute. To end with only a 36-point win. Durand Johnson and Cam Wright led Pitt in scoring with 21 and 17 points.

Johnson’s outburst was almost entirely in the second half (18 points). One of those hot spell of his that makes every Pitt fan want to see more of him in the line-up. The issue with Johnson has always been streakiness. Games like this followed by not hitting a thing. If he shows more consistency, then he will be a huge sparkplug off the bench this year.

Wright also had 10 rebounds and 2 steals to go with his scoring. And even with the new rules emphasis — leading to so many fouls being called — Wright was only whistled once despite playing tough defense. He never looks as fluid as some players (though, his shooting form looks so much better), but he definitely looked comfortable out there.

On the senior side, Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna did everything they were supposed to do.

Patterson probed Slippery Rock’s defense just enough to create a passing lane so he could squeeze a pass inside to senior Talib Zanna for a dunk. Another time, Patterson picked the right moment to feed sophomore James Robinson for a wide-open 3-pointer. Late in the opening half, Patterson drove the court for a twisting layup to cap a 9-0 Pitt run that answered Slippery Rock’s 6-0 burst.

At the start of the second half, Patterson planted himself in the lane and drew a charge that negated a Slippery Rock layup.

Patterson’s veteran leadership rubbed off on Zanna (14 points, eight rebounds).

When Zanna gets going early, it seems to elevate his game. He becomes more aggressive going to the basket and is a more dangerous defensive presence. With the 6-foot-9 Zanna looming in the paint, Slippery Rock made only 25.9 percent of its shots in the opening half and shot 33.9 percent overall.

I don’t buy into comparing Lamar Patterson to Brad Wanamaker any longer (I’m guilty of making those comparisons in prior years). I like Patterson and there are similarities, but he has lacked the decisiveness in his decisionmaking that Wanamaker possessed.

That is my one fear with Patterson if Pitt is indeed trying to up the tempo. He can’t wait and hold the ball on the perimeter trying to survey the scene for the perfect pass or shot. That will be something I watch with him this season.

As for Zanna. I really, really want him to thrive this year. The issues are what happens against teams with size and strength inside. His junior year in Big East play was such a sharp contrast with how he was in a weak non-con. So whatever he does in the non-con this year will be tempered by a wait and see what happens in ACC play.

Finally, Mike Young featured on this Pitt piece after CBS Sports writer Jon Rothstein took in a Pitt practice this past week.





Chas,

Hope you able to reuse this headline a little later today (ha ha).

Comment by PittofDreams 11.02.13 @ 10:01 am

I’m thinking many of us here had thoughts of Patterson being the next Wannamaker last year .. and because of that, he was my biggest disappointment. Problem is that I believe he is a big key for this year’s team. He has more experience and varied skills than anyone else.

Comment by wbb 11.02.13 @ 10:35 am

@@@@@

Fail to see the benefit of playing D2 teams.
A scrimmage would seem to create
much greater competition and excitement
for fans and players.

Comment by JR 11.02.13 @ 10:41 am

JR – I agree 100%. It sure hasn’t helped Jaime in March for the last 8 years.

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.02.13 @ 10:44 am

actually these exhibition games are played more for the benefit of the D2 teams

Comment by wbb 11.02.13 @ 10:49 am

We should worry about our own benefits and get on the road early, play a tough non con schedule in far away lands so when March comes and we are in Utah playing we don’t get smoked.

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.02.13 @ 10:52 am

Jamie is pretty good with knowing how to schedule the non-con, based on how many newbies we have coming in that might play an integral part. This year was also different since Mostella’s & Uchebo’s availability wasn’t known when he was putting together the non-con.

Most teams in that situation do similar. Cuse very rarely leaves their campus or the state of NY in non-con. As do plenty of other schools if they can.

All of these guys weren’t on the team last year or were redshirted;
Young, Randall, Artis, Jones, Newkirk, Nwanwko, and Mostella and Uchebo.

I count 8 players, that’s a lot of the first 13 that would play. So breaking these guys in and building up their confidence as a team and molding them into a good team is easier at home than getting a few beatdowns on the road.

A weak non-con isn’t why Pitt loses in March, imo.

Comment by EMel 11.02.13 @ 11:11 am

OK, I know that this is a really stupid question. But, what is a “growler”?

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 11.02.13 @ 11:14 am

pmdH2P:

I depends on the context in which “growler” is used.

Could be a glass 1/2 gallon jug in which draught beer is poured for “take-out” from a bar.

Comment by xfmrman 11.02.13 @ 11:22 am

or could be ‘one who growls’

Comment by wbb 11.02.13 @ 11:24 am

Comment by xfmrman 11.02.13 @ 11:27 am

Got to have the Nike’s and the video games.

Comment by EMel 11.02.13 @ 11:31 am

Today in the ACC: (conf. records, spread)

UNC(1-3)(-5.5) travels to NC State(0-4)
Wake Forest(2-3)(+4) travels to Syracuse(1-2)

Va Tech(3-1)(-4) travels to BC(1-3)
Clemson(5-1)(17.5) travels to Virginia(0-4)

PITT(2-2)(+11) travels to Georgia Tech(4-2)
Miami(3-0)(+21) travels to Fla. State(5-0)

Comment by EMel 11.02.13 @ 11:40 am

It is Pitt’s secret weapon that will be unleashed tonight. It will be just like Ender blowing up the planet. I pitty the Yellow Jackets.

Comment by TX Panther 11.02.13 @ 12:03 pm

Va Tech is losing; if Miami loses and Va Tech beats Miami, and we win the rest of the ACC games including Miami … ah, never mind!

Comment by wbb 11.02.13 @ 2:16 pm

I am so glad hoops is finally here again. Last year had some great moments. The last minute comeback nipping Lehigh at the Pete. Beating the Holy BJesus out of Georgetown in Georgetown. Beating the Orange at the Pete. The Senior day victory. Along with a couple very tough losses to end the season. I am sure this season will have some great moments too and I hope a better end game.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.02.13 @ 2:26 pm

scrimmages are closed events. So there is no “excitement” for fans. Really trying to see the basis of complaining about D2 exhibitions. All major D1 teams do it.

Comment by Chas 11.02.13 @ 2:33 pm

@ wbb

Part 1 of that scenario is complete. The rest of it is a real stretch…….

did you start drinking heavily already. lol

BC upends Va Tech. 34-27
Guess that means after last weeks lost the Dukies, that Va Tech wasn’t/isn’t that good after all.

Which was my conclusion before we played them.
BC scores 34 on them and we score 9.
I didn’t know Steve Addazio’s OC was that much better than our offensive guru’s.

Comment by EMel 11.02.13 @ 2:39 pm

Anything can happen week to week in the ACC as ppl are starting to clue in on.

It’s been like this in the ACC for quite some time now.

Let’s hope “anything can happen” this evening in Atlanta.

Let’s Go Pitt !

Comment by EMel 11.02.13 @ 2:43 pm

Emel, it’s been raining all day, it’s cold, and I just bought a fifth of Devil’s Cut ….what am I supposed to do?

Comment by wbb 11.02.13 @ 2:58 pm

halftime: Navy 20 ND 17 we’ll see who wins the 2nd half

Comment by wbb 11.02.13 @ 4:10 pm

Navy ahead of ND by 3 at the half but their placekicker who beat us missed the extra point. Ugh

Comment by Pitt Dad 11.02.13 @ 4:10 pm

So tired of trying to judge anything from Pitt”s lame pre-season/non-con schedules. Wake me up when the ACC games start.

Navy moving the ball at will on the Domers, up 20-17 at the half. Of course the Navy kicker shanked an XP today after hitting the game winning FG last week, after shanking an XP vs. Toledo. Luck of the Irish always > than luck of the Panther.

Comment by Iron Duke 11.02.13 @ 4:11 pm

Navy rushed for 200 yds in the first half also

Comment by rhyno527 11.02.13 @ 4:12 pm

Looking at ESPN site, and we are getting very little respect as many are picking Stanford and Texas Tech over us in the Legendas Classic. We were even called “offensively challenged” by the one bozo announcer.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.04.13 @ 12:40 pm

I know that the preseason rankings don’t mean much and we have a lot of question marks. That being said I can’t say I agree with the AP poll rating us behind the likes of Villanova and Harvard. I think it pretty likely we would handle both.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.04.13 @ 1:07 pm

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