When you have Pitt being blown out at Indiana and then taking care of Duquesne in the city game later on, it is not always going to produce one player who dominated in both games. James Robinson poured in 23 points against the Dukes in the win, but had a miserable time in Bloomington earlier in the week. Chris Jones did have a solid week, as he showed up in both games and so did Josh Newkirk, In a tight call this week, Newkirk is my pick for Panther of the Week.
The week started on Tuesday with Newkirk using his speed and coast to coast drives to keep the first half tight before the Panthers fell apart in the second half against Indiana. The sophomore guard finished with 16 points, two rebounds, eight assists, and finally two swipes from Hoosier players during the game. In a frustrating game that saw Pitt fall way behind in the second half, Newkirk was one guy who didn't look out of place and seemed to frustrate Indiana at all. His speed trumped Jones' three-point tear towards the end of the first half.
The backup guard didn't stop there and despite a strong effort from Robinson and Jones (again) on Friday, Newkirk again stepped up with some nice play. Finishing with 16 points, four rebounds and dishing out five assists gave him his second strong game in as many contests.
Newkirk is making sure that teams can't just key on Robinson. He's providing the Panthers with strong guard play and giving Pitt something they haven't had in a long while - a strong ball-handling guard off the bench.