In case you missed it, Pitt held on for a close win in Game Two of the CBI Finals against Washington State.
This game was just hideous to watch ... especially the second half. Pitt had an offensive drought that, in the words of Count Dooku, was worthy of remembrance in the Jedi archives. The Panthers went without a field goal for more than seven minutes, blowing an 8-10ish point lead that they held for much of the game. The Cougars came back to tie it and Pitt had to hang on.
Check out the box score, if you must. The one thing worth mentioning was the officiating.These officials were all over the place. Every quick whistle seemed to be followed up with another for the mere sake of balancing the calls out. There were a total of 39 fouls and it only got worse as the game went along. 25 of those came in the second half and there eight called in about the first three minutes of the second half.
Then, there was the intentional foul call against John Johnson with about ten seconds left in the game. With Pitt holding a six-point lead, Johnson was whistled for the foul. It didn't cost Pitt the game, but it could have as Washington State cut the lead to only two with about three or four seconds left.
Few would argue that there was a foul on that play. But the offensive player ran into Johnson at first before JJ wrapped his arms around him, taking him to the floor. Part of it was inadvertent contact and I get that a foul had to be called there. But an intentional foul call, which could have cost Pitt the game, was absolutely the wrong call. You don't make that call unless it's something of such significance that it simply can't be ignored.
The other storyline was Ashton Gibbs' injury, which knocked him out of the game. Cam Wright got the start and while he didn't do much offensively with only two points, he did have five rebounds and, more importantly, zero turnovers. If Gibbs is out again, Wright will help the team immensely by merely taking care of the ball. This is stating the obvious, but his role doesn't need to be scoring.