You know all those years of Pitt teams where there was no “go to guy?” The guy on that the team looks to score. The most visible offensive threat. Kind of think Pitt has one of those this year, and the VT game was what happens when he’s not right. Still, I’ll take escaping (again) with the win.
Lamar Patterson had the tape on the right hand and thumb, and it was evident how much of a problem it was when he couldn’t aim straight. To say nothing of struggling with his handle.
It isn’t right to say Pitt is decimated by injuries, but there is a toll at the moment that is rather high. Durand Johnson’s injury has been an issue but plenty of teams can withstand losing their 6th man.
It’s the nagging injuries to Talib Zanna and now Lamar Patterson that are the concerns of the moment.
Zanna is gutting out the ankle sprain/roll/whatever. He’s out there giving minutes, but he isn’t able to get to the ball and rebound as he was. It is also hurting his position around the basket, making it harder on whoever is at the 4 to play defense and rebound. It is no coincidence that Pitt’s rebounding and defense — especially after not corralling a defensive rebound — has become really bad since Zanna got hurt.
This isn’t to say that Zanna’s injury should be an excuse for the performance by Jamel Artis and Mike Young the last two games — they have been pretty sub-par — it is just one more factor that effects them.
After playing three games in a seven-day span, two requiring overtime, the Panthers need rest and took Sunday off. Lamar Patterson (43.5), Wright (42.5), Talib Zanna (40) and Robinson (37.5) all averaged heavy minutes the past two games, so it’s no surprise that signs of wear and tear are showing, particularly in Patterson (thumb) and Zanna (ankle). The fifth-year seniors are the team’s top two scorers, averaging about 30 points a game, but combined for 12 against Virginia Tech.
It hasn’t helped that the Panthers aren’t getting much help from their supporting cast. Freshman guard Josh Newkirk contributed 11 points in 27 minutes off the bench, but power forwards Mike Young and Jamel Artis combined for five points and two rebounds in 41 minutes and Chris Jones, Derrick Randall and Joseph Uchebo were all scoreless.
“Obviously, you’re not going to have guys score their average every game, and you’ve got to play through it,” Dixon said. “We’ve got Cameron and James and Josh, but we need other guys. We’re playing through injuries and fatigue, but we’ve got to get it figured out.”
Patterson’s injury is frustratingly vague.
Patterson scored a season-low five points and was 1 of 9 from the field, which included several airballs.
“The pain is on the inside of my thumb so they say it is not that serious and it is going to heal,” said Patterson, who wasn’t able to practice leading up to the game because of his thumb. “It is not that serious, it is not something that is going to need surgery or anything like that, so I am not too concerned.
“[I had to play], I am more of an all-around player so my scoring is not necessary. I can create, I can pass, I can rebound, I can get stops, get defensive steals and definitely tried to do all those things.”
But, mainly Pitt needed his scoring.
No real details though as to the nature of the injury or how long it will take to heal. Is it a couple days? A nagging injury stretching out over weeks because there won’t be much rest until after this week?
I love Cam Wright. I think he is a fantastic team player for Pitt. Excellent defender and vastly better on offense from last year. But when he and James Robinson have to shoulder the scoring load it is hard not to be unnerved.
Josh Newkirk did well in the VT game, but he is a freshman and he has been up-and-down as you would expect (like the Virginia game).