Let's get one thing clear. This wasn't a defensive struggle ... it was really bad basketball.
Those words 'really bad' are actually an injustice. This wasn't basketball - it was something along the lines of volleyball on roller skates.
So, let's start with the good. Pitt won, 59-55.
And yeah, that concludes the good out of this disaster tonight.
Look, Pitt's not going to bring their A game every night. What I was disappointed in, though, was that desperately needing a win (and more importantly, avoiding a loss against a bad team), the Panthers came out and decided to give us that. This team just didn't take things all that seriously.
Pitt was outrebounded by seven by a team ranking 194th in rebounding. They shot 33% from the field, including 28% from three-point range. With several chances in regulation to put the game out of reach, they were lazy. They had three field goals in the last 13 minutes of regulation. They really just had no business winning this game and only did because a team managed to somehow outderp them.
It wasn't just missed shots. Pitt played tepid defense, was outhustled on the boards, and just made stupid decisions. Lamar Patterson finished with 25 points, but that was the quietest 25-point game you'll ever see. Once he was in the lane for not only a wide open shot, but a layup, and inexplicably passed the ball. Another time he passed on a three-point shot to pass the ball to James Robinson for a three (which was, inevitably missed). That's not heady basketball and it's not being a good teammate - it's foolish. James Robinson should never be taking three-point shots over Patterson. Ever.
The game wasn't so much frustrating to watch as it was just plain ugly. Pitt's offense took the night off for the third straight contest and while a win is a win, I mean, come on. Playing against any reputable team, the Panthers not only lose this game, but probably by double digits.
I'm not all aboard the panic train yet and hey - Pitt still doesn't have that bad loss we like to talk about. But the Panthers just didn't play as hungry as they needed to.
And that's the discouraging thing.
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