PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Even as his fellow forwards muddled along against another zone defense, junior Lamar Patterson, once again, packed a much-needed offensive punch after a rather punch-less start to his season.
In a 70-46 win over Howard at the Petersen Events Center, Patterson turned the corner into a corner office, hitting five of eight three-pointers, including four in the first half, and tying two-guard Tray Woodall with a game-high 15 points.
“There are some who might have given up on him offensively after the first four games, but that’s the nature of the game. I think his defense is much improved from last year, and his shot selection has been good. He’s been playing some real good minutes,” head coach Jamie Dixon said Tuesday night.
Patterson managed just four total buckets in those contests, but famine turned to feast around the Thanksgiving holiday. He averaged 15 points, 6.5 boards, and three assists per game in the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
“I’ve just been shooting it more, building some confidence, and it’s just dropping. I’ve been working hard in practice, and it’s translating into games,” said Patterson. “I didn’t really change anything. The 4-for-17 at the beginning [of the season] isn’t like me.”
As far as he’s concerned, one hot hand is feeding the other; Pitt moved the ball well against Howard Tuesday night to the tune of 19 assists against ten turnovers, and true freshman point guard James Robinson has found him good looks while making a commendable transition to the college game.
Robinson entered Tuesday’s game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.0.
“A lot of credit goes to him and Tray,” Patterson explained. “I’m shot-ready. I know I just have to be prepared to shoot, and these guys will find me. If you hit the guy up top, it raises the percentage of the shot. So we practice that a lot…driving and kicking.”
He also offered his take on Pitt’s other freshman starter, Steven Adams, who is seeking consistency in his own game.
“He’s a big guy, so I’m not worried about physical [play]. It’s probably just the speed of things. He’s just got to make sure he gets up to speed. We want to make sure we feed it down to him, so he can show his skill set.”
Next up for Pitt (6-1) is another non-conference home game against Detroit Saturday at 7:00 on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA before Wednesday’s annual City Game at CONSOL Energy Center.
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)