Pitt got a pretty good battle from Robert Morris on Tuesday. But in the end, it wasn't enough as the Panthers won 74-53.
Robert Morris really refused to go away and even got to within five points about halfway through the second half. Still, as I wrote over at SB Nation Pittsburgh, you never really got the sense that Pitt was in danger of losing this game. Pitt just looked a step ahead most of the night and was too much for Robert Morris.
One problem for the Colonials, as I mentioned in the preview yesterday, was the height difference. Pitt won the rebounding battle by +14.
I also mentioned that I thought Gary McGhee would have a big night. Well, McGhee did have his best game of the season, going for 11 points and 12 rebounds - both season highs and the rebounding total was a career high. He also added a block and a steal. Still, I expected a little more from the frontcourt offensively. Talib Zanna, Nasir Robinson, Dante Taylor, and J.J. Richardson only combined for ten points. With the size advantage down low, I expected a bit more.It wasn't all the fault of the bigs, though. Several times guys were open down low, waving their arms frantically, and were missed by the player with the ball. I was at the game and my seats are up in the 200 section, so it's easy to see the entire court. Guys were being flat out missed in the paint, so I don't blame them for the lack of productivity. That's one thing this team hasn't done a great job of this season - getting the ball down low enough. No, Gary McGhee isn't a huge offensive threat, but if the tallest defender on the other team is 6'6", as was the case to start the game, you've got no choice but to give him the ball. He actually did see some early touches, but Pitt didn't go back to him nearly enough.
Oh, and by the way, let's not forget Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker, who led Pitt with a combined 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Pitt's guards, however, perhaps had an easier time of things with RMU starting guard and leading scorer Karon Abraham out of the game for some sort of disciplinary reasons for violating team rules. Abraham should only be out one game, but, man, what a game to miss.
Robert Morris also entered the game as one of the nation's poorest shooting teams. They didn't disappoint on Tuesday, either, shooting just under 31% from the field and a dismal 36% from the free throw line. When you take that into consideration, it's a wonder they were able to keep the game so close for so long.