I mean, there's really no point in this, right?
There's no logical way to break down Pitt's 61-60 win over Boston College. And, really, I'm not even going to try too hard to do so. It wasn't on the level of the Armed Forces Bowl in terms of lunacy, but, well, it wasn't that far off, either.
The tl;dr version was that Pitt trailed by ten with three minutes left. Trailed by eight with under two minutes left. Trailed by six with under a minute left. Those aren't insurmountable leads - I know that. But when you're shooting as poorly as Pitt did ... those kinds of leads seemed pretty untouchable.
If you watched the game, you know that Panthers' offense apparently decided not to accompany the team on the road trip. Pitt scored a miserable 22 points in the first half. They did slightly better in the second, but only because, you know, you can't really score 22 points two halves in a row.
This, of course, is nothing new for the Panthers. Entering the game, Pitt was below the 45% threshold from the field and ranked 123rd in the nation. The 67.6 points per game they had was 184th. The team shot only 33% against North Carolina State in an ugly loss over the weekend. They scored under 60 points against San Diego State, Samford, and Holy Cross. This isn't a great scoring team and tonight, they were abysmal.
The Panthers shot under 40% for the game and were significantly below that until they got hot at the end. The problem for Boston College was that for as bad as Pitt was most of the game, they were worse late. Missed bunnies, turnovers, etc. This was the typical Pitt collapse, after all.
JD said it best on Twitter:
BC is Pitting so hard.— JD Schroeder (@Sta7ic) January 7, 2015
ICYMI, Pitt scored a comical six points in the final minute after scoring only 47 in the previous 39 minutes. The Eagles, meanwhile, showed up at the dance with zero points, two turnovers, and a missed layup at the end to send it to five more minutes of basketball that no one really cared to watch.
The Panthers even tried letting Boston College off the hook in overtime as the Eagles held a one-point lead with under ten seconds left. But Josh Newkirk went down the court, using his speed to get to the basket and after a quick layup and an ensuing miss at the other end, Pitt somehow leaves with a win tonight.
Don't fall into the predictable trap that this team is as bad as they were tonight. They're not. This is a team that blew out Big 12 team Kansas State as part of winning seven out of eight games heading into conference play. As bad as the offense has been, they've scored at least 70 points in four of those victories and just aren't as bad as they were tonight.
Still, if there's one thing you should realize, it's that this is not a good team. And if you called them a bad team, I'd be hard-pressed to argue. They certainly had no business winning tonight and showing up to play literally a handful of minutes out of 45 shouldn't be enough to deserve to win. Give Pitt credit - when they could have folded and called it a night, they stepped up and made plays. But if we're calling a spade a spade here, Pitt looked terrible all night long.
Can Pitt get better? Sure.
Sheldon Jeter stepped up for Pitt tonight with 11 points and eight rebounds, and that's a guy that hasn't done anything to this point. If you're taking one thing away from tonight to hold onto, it's that Jeter looked really good. Josh Newkirk has been streaky this year, but had a great game with 15 points and seven assists. Both of those guys scored late and if they pick it up, Pitt will be a better team.
The flipside is that the starting lineup is far too inconsistent. Cam Wright's offensive game is a mess. James Robinson needs constantly reminded that he's not a viable three-point threat. Chris Jones was scoreless and Jamel Artis contributed four uninspiring points and two meager rebounds. Even Mike Young, who had 15 points, was only 6-16 from the floor. This just is not a very good team right now and even if Jeter/Newkirk do more, it won't matter if the starters turn in awful performances.
The fact is that Pitt won tonight, but did so against a very bad team ... and needed overtime and a miracle finish to do it, no less.
But this is just one of those games you don't replay, trying to figure out how they won. You don't worry about the team's lack of an inside presence. And you certainly don't feel significantly better about the team afterwards.
Take the win, put it in your pocket, and head off to bed.
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