If you had told me Pitt would hold Indiana's James Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell to 13 and 11 points respectively, I would have thought Pitt must have had a really good defensive game.
Spoiler: They didn't.
Pitt allowed Indiana to shoot 54.1% from the floor (it was at 63% at half time), and 41.2% from 3.
Pitt allowed Indiana players like IU freshman Emmitt Holt to shoot perfect from the floor and finish with 15 pts. He had played a total of 17 minutes before tonight, and played 19 in this game. (Fun fact: Holt is from my hometown of Webster, NY)
Most of the Pitt starters simply struggled. James Robinson finished with 2 points (1-9, the last shot was made at the end), 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 turnovers. Just didn't play well at all. Jamel Artis finished with 7 that he mostly scored in garbage time. Derrick Randall had a good night on the boards (12 rebounds) but could really turn none of them into second chance points, as he finished with 4 pts. Michael Young had early foul trouble and only had 2 pts at the half. He did well in the second half to finish with 12 points.
Newkirk honestly had a pretty stellar night. He was 7-13 for 16 points including a coast to coast dunk that quieted the IU crowd despite them being up around 20 at the time. He also added 8 assists and 2 steals. His defense is still not great, but he seemed to have a killer instinct tonight.
While Chris Jones had a good night offensively as well shooting 6-17 for 18 points, his defense still resembles a turnstile. Quite frankly,that's what the vast majority of the team was the whole night. Just completely unable to stop penetration from Indiana. Honestly, I've never seen a team have it so easy on a Pitt defense. Getting outworked for loose balls and crucial rebounds nearly every play. The last minutes of the game Pitt seemed to wake up, and actually start doing some things on both ends of the floor.
Frankly, there isn't much to analyze from this game. Pitt has a long long way to go. Getting Cameron Wright back will definitely help as he easily the team's best defender, and does know how to score 10+ a game. Durand Johnson would help, but he's not coming back so it's pointless to theorize how he could contribute. This team is young and inexperienced, and needs to get things together. Thankfully they don't have a truly tough opponent again until the ACC season starts. Play like they did tonight though, and the City Game will be rough on Friday night. This team has proven they can play well as they did versus Kansas State, but the losses have all been rough.
I have faith Jamie Dixon can coach them up, but this may be his toughest task yet.