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Well, that was fun.
Pitt came out in the first half and absolutely laid an egg against Marquette. Despite shooting under 40% from the field, they trailed by only three. Things didn't got a little better in the second half and the Golden Eagles just never could pull away. By now, you likely now what happened from there. Lamar Patterson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
I was at the game and don't know if it was as evident on TV, but before the play even began, Patterson's defender was a good 6-8 feet all off of him. At the time, I couldn't figure out why, but reasoned that maybe they were getting into position to foul a player ahead of a three-point attempt. But that didn't happen, Patterson got the ball and while it was a long three-pointer, he was wide open and had a clean look. The only other reason he could possibly have been left open? He was a good bit off the three-point line and the defender probably figured he was too far away to get a good shot. But if you're Marquette there, why not play him closer anyway?
Then there were the refs. There were any number of not only questionable, but horrendous calls. One in particular was Steven Adams being whistled for foul on a perfectly clean block. And in a close game, those matter. But with the way Pitt came out in overtime, I have a hard time blaming the zebras for this one. You could argue that had it not been for some bad officiating that Pitt could have escaped in regulation. But Pitt could have done plenty more on their part, including showing up for the extra period and also ...
The dreaded free throws.
Like blaming the refs, I hate blaming losses for any one thing because it's never as simple as that. But when you shoot 13-26 from the line, well, yeah. That was definitely a big reason Pitt didn't walk away with a W.
In the end, sometimes you just have take your hat off. Marquette withstood several Pitt rallies. Near the end of the second-half with the place rocking, they made shots. And in overtime, where I was pretty sure Pitt would come out with some momentum after the big Patterson shot. Marquette made play after play and never went away. They should get a lot of credit for not folding when it would have been real easy to do so.
Last, but far from least, is the injury sustained by Tray Woodall. Woodall suffered a concussion and didn't return. It was pretty clear that Pitt missed having him on the court in the second half as the offense really seemed at a standstill. So if he's out for any length of time, it's not going to be all that good for the Panthers. The good news is that the next four games are against Villanova, UConn, Providence, and DePaul. Even without him, the Panthers should have chance to grab three out of four there.
I don't know - I'd be feeling much better about this team had they been able to pull out a victory today. But it's still really early and we're pretty much at the midway point of the season. Definitely too soon to tell about postseason hopes yet in my opinion. Right now this doesn't look like a tournament team but there are plenty of games left against what should be pretty bad teams.