USA TODAY Sports
Let's not tell anyone about this game in a few weeks, cool?
It wasn't pretty, but none of us expected it to be. And the vibe, even when winning, was weird - at least that's how it appeared on TV. Team was super, super tight at the end, and did their best to give Pitt a chance. Luckily, the defense held and Chane and Gorgui nailed 4 key, key free throws and Gorgui in general had arguably his best game of the season.
I hate Pitt and Jamie Dixon is a bad coach who I do not personally care for. Just throwing that out there.
Takeaways? Well, looking at the box score, the game was entirely even except our FT shooting was awesome and Pitt's was terrible - although they did get offensive rebounds and scores off some missed FTs so that's a wash.
How about this: at one point in the first half we had Siva-Dark Slime-Hendo-Chane-Gorgui. That line-up, unsurprisingly, was ineffective against the zone, but Hendo and Dark Slime successfully defended a fast break by kicking the ball out of bounds.
Rebounding will be a big discussion, but here are my thoughts: this was a match-up issue. Our best rebounders don't block out. I've covered this before, but merits mentioning again - watch Gorgui and Chane when the ball goes up and hits the rim - they both just jump as high as possible and out reach for the ball. T-Will and Earl did this. Pitt is a great rebounding team in that they throw bodies at you, push, grab, cheat, I think I saw the Kiwi stick a shiv in Montrezl....anyway, I don't think this is that concerning going forward because I think this was match-up specific.
Something more concerning: 3 point shooting. Sure, teams make ridiculous 3s against us (hands in face, shot clock expiring, 5 feet behind the line, etc) but we can't give up nearly 50% from 3 and shoot less than 30% from 3 on the same number of shots. We hit 5 for 18 from 3, which is not awful but still not good. And I remember too may "bad" 3s in there.
Brightside? We didn't play exceptionally well (missed 3s, missed bunnies, rebounds, etc) against a good, hot team, we had a close lead late and we came away with the win despite the tightening game and pressure. And we did it with basically 6.5 guys as SVT didn't play and Hendo played well in stretches but didn't really add anything (except for 20% of our made 3s.....and those 3 points were the final margin....so basically Hendo won us the game).
Okay, survive. Advance. Let's get our energy back, our confidence back, our mojo back, an average field goal % back, all of our players back and let's go smash Marquette on Sunday.