Pitt played alright, but Georgetown simply played better. There were ultimately a few key reasons why the Panthers couldn't win:
- The biggest reason Pitt lost was of course the way they played over the last ten minutes. It felt like the Texas game all over again. Over that span they shot 3-15 (with the exception of two meaningless baskets in the final seconds) from the field and had four turnovers (they only had seven in the entire game).
- Pitt did a fairly good job of keeping tabs on Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe, not allowing either to go crazy. But somehow, they missed the memo on Chris Wright, who went off for 27 points.
- A lot of people wondered what would happen when Pitt played a good team and Ashton Gibbs didn't play well. Well, we were reminded tonight. Gibbs has had off nights before, but most of the time, they've come against inferior teams. The other lone time it did was in the Texas game, and we remember what happened there. This team is pretty good, but will struggle against good teams when it's best player has time scoring. Even though I'm not sure I'd significantly cut his minutes, you have to wonder if Dixon will change his philosophy about keeping him on the floor so much.
- Pitt can get by when one player is struggling, but when three of their best are off, they're going to have bad games. Jermaine Dixon and Brad Wanamaker both combined to shoot 8-23 from the field - under 33%. Not even a career high 20 points by Gilbert Brown could balance out that debacle.
If you've watched Pitt the past couple of weeks, it doesn't seem like a reach to see them winning a few games in the tournament. But tonight was a perfect example of why Pitt could get bounced early. They managed to keep the turnovers to seven, but the shots just weren't falling and really only got good, efficient production from one player in Gilbert Brown...two if you count Gary McGhee...which leads me to my periodic rant about why he is so difficult to watch sometimes...
- Tonight he went 3-3 from the field for seven points and five rebounds in 26 minutes. Not terrible for what Pitt needs from him. But as I said before, it seems for every good play he makes, he makes an equally bad one. He was painful to watch over the last four minutes of the game. He had a bad foul on a dunk, threw the ball away after a steal, and refused to box out. The lack of boxing out/giving up offensive rebounds is what really bothers me because it seems to happen quite a bit. His defense is actually pretty good if you ask me, but many times, the rebounding needs to be a little better.
- Three-pointers also didn't help the Panthers as Georgetown shot 70% to Pitt's 22%. I don't mind so much that they only made 4...it's taking 18 that wasn't the best idea.
Also, the inbounds layup with one second to go on the shot clock wasn't a reason they lost. But that can't happen. It seemed to sum up the game - Pitt seemed a step behind much of the night, even though score-wise, it was a very back and forth game.
I'm definitely not going to preach doom and gloom after one loss. Pitt can't beat every good team they play. They're a very good team, but even good teams lose some games. The good news for Pitt, as I've stated over and over, is that they still have several very winnable games left on their schedule. They will win their share of games and should easily get over 20, but they'll lose some more along the way.
Ironically, would the game have turned out different if Ashton Gibbs and Chris Wright switched places?:
Even with his close ties to Knight, Gibbs wasn't a sure thing to come to Pitt. Ironically, he also was considering the school the Panthers host tonight, Georgetown. But when Chris Wright, a five-star guard from Washington D.C., picked the Hoyas over Pitt, Gibbs looked elsewhere.Eh, I'd still rather have Ashton. Call me a homer.
"(Wright) going there was his choice and I just had to make another move," Gibbs said. "I could have ended up there, but it's something that didn't happen and I'm just happy to be here."
And by the way, the next game is no cupcake as Pitt gets Seton Hall on the road this Sunday. The Hall is only 10-6, but five of their losses have come against ranked teams. How Pitt bounces back could be a good barometer of what kind of team Pitt will be the rest of the way.