PITTSBURGH – Pitt guards Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker continued what they’ve done all season, combining for 36 points in a 72-57 win at No. 22 Georgetown.
Gibbs and Wanamaker – the team’s top two scorers — gave the offense a quick start at the Verizon Center. Wanamaker scored 7 points in the opening eight minutes and Gibbs immediately followed with three 3-pointers to help No. 5 Pitt (16-1, 4-0 Big East) earn the program’s largest halftime lead ever in conference play on the road, 41-24.
All told, Gibbs scored 16 of his 22 points and Wanamaker added 9 of his 14 in the first half.
“Offensively we executed very well,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said on the 93-7 The Fan postgame show.
Gibbs cashed in when it was needed most, as Georgetown — which trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half — closed to within 11 with 4:37 remaining. The Panthers went without a field goal for 7:08, which allowed the Hoyas to creep back in to the game.
“We took good shots, we executed well, we just didn’t knock it down,” Dixon said. “That’s gonna happen.”
Gibbs found open space on the right wing and hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock under 10 seconds to give Pitt a 14-point lead, 63-49, and control of the game once again.
But it wasn’t solely Gibbs and Wanamaker’s work on the offensive end. Both played a big part in shutting down the Hoyas (12-5, 1-4) combination of Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Jason Clark.
The trio averages a combined 44 points a game, but was held to just 31 Wednesday night. Wright led all Georgetown scorers with 14 points. Freeman, who averages nearly 18 points a game, scored just 12.
In turn, the Hoyas shot just 39.6 percent from the field.
“We did a good job defensively,” Dixon said. “I thought we did a good job guarding their shooters. I think, for the most part, the (3-point shots) were contested and we did a pretty good job containing the drive.”
The drive is something Georgetown thrives on offensively, but it was non-existent from the start of the game.
Pitt led 22-9 with 9:16 remaining in the first half after Gibbs hit three straight 3-pointers. The Hoyas didn’t do themselves any favors, missing 10 free throws in the first half, to trail 41-24 going in to the break.
Georgetown came out with a little more energy in the second half, but still lacked execution early on. Pitt built its lead to 22 points, 55-33, with 13:58 remaining on a layup by Nasir Robinson.
The Hoyas then closed the gap, largely on six free throws from Wright along with a Nate Lubick 3-pointer.
Gibbs quickly sucked the life out of the Georgetown crowd after the Hoyas closed to 11 points, 60-49, with a 3-pointer to push the gap to 63-49 with just under five minutes remaining.
Pitt went 9-of-12 from the free throw line the rest of the way for a 72-57 win.
“We got it to the right guys,” Dixon said. “We had a lot of good free throw shooters in there so it’s hard to find a guy to foul. We knocked ‘em down.”
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog