4-1-Zoo: Thoughts on Pitt’s Win Against USF
PITTSBURGH — Beauty of technology: you can re-watch games.
After a second viewing of Pitt’s 67-55 win against USF Wednesday night, here’s what stuck in my head…
– Brad Wanamaker helped spark the Pitt offense early on for a second straight game. Wanamaker recorded a steal that led to an intentional foul call and two free throws. He also hit a mid-range jumper and was all over the floor in the opening 10 minutes. He did the same at Villanova Saturday, hitting his first three shots to score Pitt’s first six points. It’s almost like he has taken the absence of Ashton Gibbs as a personal challenge to produce. We’ve seen Gibbs come out of the gate and hit early shots a bunch this year and since he’s been out Wanamaker has done the same.
– Gilbert Brown once again led the team in turnovers — this time with three. I wrote this after the Villanova win (a game which he led the team in turnovers, three coming in the final five minutes) and I’ll write it again — this seems like a big problem. He doesn’t handle the ball much to begin with so to have the most turnovers on any given night is rather glaring, to me. It means he’s being careless with the ball and/or making bad decisions. This team can’t have that from a senior.
– Talib Zanna’s performance is encouraging to see. While it’s not something we should expect to see on a nightly basis, it might show that he’s catching on to some of the intricacies of being a big man in the Big East. He also might be starting to understand what his role is in Jamie Dixon’s system. For much of the season there have been times where Zanna appeared lost or confused — still having much to learn. On Wednesday it looked like he was reading plays to get rebounds and putbacks… Encouraging.
– Zanna’s performance adds to a slew of highlight nights for freshmen on this Pitt team. Zanna had a double-figure night at Madison Square Garden in November. Lamar Patterson has had rather steady production all year. J.J. Moore had 19 points against North Florida, 11 points against Penn and 10 points against Delaware State. Add to that the improved play of sophomore guard Travon Woodall while filling in for Gibbs and there’s been a lot of glimpses to the future of Pitt basketball and its potential.
– Much was written about Pitt’s great start/first half Wednesday night. I didn’t see it that way at all on first view or second view. Really, Pitt had a dry stretch of almost four minutes and couldn’t start to pull away from USF until around eight minutes remaining in the first half. The Panthers had a good second 10 minutes, but really blew all the momentum they had by allowing two later 3-pointers before the halftime buzzer. All told, it could have been a much better first half.
– Nasir Robinson’s playmaking abilities were clearly a point of emphasis during the second half. He was a pseudo point guard as teammates funneled the ball to him as he was stationed just below the foul line. From there he either created for himself or created and dished to others. He doesn’t get the attention he deserves for being undersized in the Big East. He actually uses his size to his advantage and is extremely effective. He’ll need to be just that Saturday to match up against St. Johns’ defense.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog