Ugh. Not a very pretty game for the Panthers, however they managed to hold off a Rider team that couldn't miss from the field to move to 2-0 on the season.
The game in question for a lot longer than a lot of Panther fans thought, though.
Pitt didn't really secure the win until probably one minute left in the game. Pitt allowed Rider to shoot 53.6% from the field, including 10-23 from three-point range. Rider, after turning the ball over 25 times against Robert Morris, only turned the ball over four times while forcing nine Panther turnovers. I said in the preview that the Broncs were a good shooting team a year ago and tonight they showed against a normally good Panther defense that they will be in every game. Perhaps this Rider team will be better than was originally thought, but this game was a huge wake up call for Pitt, especially with a veteran Long Beach State team coming to the Pete on Wednesday.
So how was it that Rider was able to shoot so well? Part of it was a few lucky shots, but most of them were major defensive lapses. Leaving the paint wide open, not guarding tight enough on the perimeter, poor switches that resulted in mismatches. The result was Rider leading for a majority of the second half after Pitt had raced out to a 30-16 lead on 12-16 shooting in the first half. Four Rider players scored at least 15 points.
As for the good guys, Ashton had what may be considered an off night by his standards, only shooting 7-15 from the field, including 6-14 from three-point range, for 24 points. Robinson and Woodall also had good scoring nights, scoring 22 and 17 points respectively. The Panthers had a better night in fouling as they only committed 13 fouls on the night. The free throw line, as always, killed Pitt. Pitt went 12-21 from the line, although surprisingly Robinson, who normally is a terrible free throw shooter, went 4-4 from the line. Rebounding-wise, Pitt killed the Broncs on the boards 39-17, including 16-3 on the offensive glass. One other problem I saw was the number of 3's Pitt shot. 34? Pitt shot way too early in the shot clock on a number of attempts when they could've worked the ball inside to Robinson who was having his way in the paint.
A win is a win, but hopefully the Panthers learned from this not to take any opponent too lightly in the future.