First things first, this isn't going to be a long recap. I was busy tonight and ended up missing much of the game. But got a few quick thoughts I wanted to pass along.
For the starters, it was another balanced attack. Everyone contributed and Patterson had the big night with 17 points. But the guy who continues to get my attention on the bench is Trey Zeigler. It seems we've gotten past the point of talking about him not fitting in and he's become a regular contributor. Over the past five games, he's been significantly involved, averaging about eight points and over three rebounds a game. He's not out there dominating by any means, but the one added dimension he brings is that he's one of the few guys on the team that can get his own shot. Don't forget - this guy's a scorer by nature, having averaged about 16 points a game over his first two seasons at Central Michigan. He's really been a good addition to the bench.
The other thing of note is that for the third time in a row, Pitt's made big plays down the stretch. Tonight it may not have been so obvious since the team nearly gave up a ten-point lead with only two minutes left, but take a closer look.
With just under five minutes left and leading only by three, Pitt scored seven straight points to even get that lead to ten. Providence cut it to three, but then Pitt made more plays. They ran the clock down and Tray Woodall nailed a clutch shot. Providence answered again, but after being fouled, James Robinson calmly nailed two free throws to seal the game.
I won't tell you crazy things about how this is a great team or how they've suddenly flipped a switch. But this team is getting better - it's pretty clear. Complain all you want about a meager four-point win against a team that isn't very good, but any road conference win is a big one. Just ask Louisville who jobbed tonight to Villanova or Georgetown who lost a few nights ago to South Florida. There's no such thing as a 'gimme' when it comes to conference road games.