Pitt bounced back from Tuesday's debacle with a 73-56 win over California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo, or simply Cal Poly. The Panthers were led by Lamar Patterson's career high of 30 points. Patterson finished today's game with 999 career points, so he is all but assured to crack the one thousand point club against Albany on New Year's Eve. Durand Johnson finished the game as the only other Pitt player in double figures with 12 points.
The score may read that Pitt won by 17, but it certainly took the Panthers a while to get it to that point. Cal Poly hung around with some sluggish play by the Panthers, and some opportune threes by the Mustangs. Pitt may or may not have had an offensive hangover from the Cincinnati game, as the Panthers only scored 28 in the first half. Once things opened up, Pitt was able to show their superior skill and score 45 in the second half.
The main concern with this game should be the play of the four post players. Between Zanna, Young, Artis, and Randall, they mustered 8 points 15 rebounds. Simply put, an ACC front court should be able to play better than those numbers against a member from the Big West conference. Other than that, it was just a typical Pitt non-conference game against an overmatched opponent.
A few positives as well for Pitt, obviously starting with Lamar Patterson. No question he played poorly on Tuesday, but many think Patterson can be that go-to-guy come March, and today he showed why some people feel that way. The point guards also played steady. James Robinson had a quiet 9 point, 4 rebound, 4 assist game. Newkirk provided four points, three assists, and two rebounds, including a nice fast break dunk.
At this point, I think everyone is ready to begin conference play. Everyone is sick of the strength of schedule talk, and Pitt legitimacy conversations. The players seem bored with some of these opponents, and the fans alike are ready to stop defending this team. Pitt can play, they are a top four ACC team and will be in the top 25 in due time. One more tune-up with Albany on New Year's Eve, and we can stop with the speculation from all angles.
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