Finally. A Big East Tournament win. Sure, it's not exactly what we had in mind, but hey, a win is a win. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Ashton Gibbs led the team in scoring with 20 and Nasir Robinson added 15 as the pair picked up their first Big East Tournament win of their careers. Think about that for a moment. For all the success that Pitt has had over the previous 3 seasons, they've yet to win a game in March at Madison Square Garden. But that's all over now.
Pitt lost the rebounding battle and was bludgeoned on the defensive glass, with St. John's grabbing 19 offensive boards, half of their total. But they actually played Pitt-like defense. The Panthers held the Johnnies to under 34% shooting and just 2-11 from 3. Pitt was physical throughout, getting the Red Storm into foul trouble, and that helped the Panthers to a victory.
Gibbs, if looking at his stats, appeared to have struggled from the floor, going 5-14 from the field. Yet he went 4-9 from 3 and was a perfect 6-6 at the line. I said in the preview that now that the conference tournament is here, it's a whole new season. Gibbs just felt more confident in his shot and that should help Pitt tomorrow when they suit up against Georgetown.
The inside game didn't have the same dominant performance they had in the regular season match-up against St. John's, but Pitt was effective inside the arc. But moving forward, Pitt will have to rebound better to get a win against the Hoyas tomorrow and the post players have to make some contribution. Zanna had a measly 1 point while Dante only took one shot.
Turnovers were a problem once again as the Panthers turned the ball over 13 times. That's how it's been all season and there's no reason to think that it's going to change in March. All we can hope for is that they don't cost Pitt a game in the tournament.
Georgetown is up tomorrow. Pitt beat the Hoyas 72-60 at the Pete in late January so we have that going for us. Expect a tougher game from the Hoyas tomorrow, but it's the Big East Tournament - anything can happen.