Both teams have dealt with significant personnel losses, but only Pitt has been able to really adjust.
This was a game Louisville likely had won if not for something that has typically haunted Pitt in the past:
But as Pitino pointed out afterward, Pitt's comeback could not have happened without a series of critical errors by his team late in the contest:Things looked bleak with Pitt down by five with about 30 seconds to play, but Jermaine Dixon kept believing:
• Jared Swopshire missed the front end of a one-and-one with 40 seconds on the clock.
• Edgar Sosa missed two free throws with 25 seconds left.
• Then Sosa missed another with 11 seconds left.
Sosa's two misses with 25 seconds left turned out to be the turning point. Out of a timeout, Wanamaker, who was left wide open, made a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 68-67 with 16 seconds remaining.
Jermaine Dixon knows exactly how much can happen in the final minute of a basketball game.Going back to that three-pointer, I was surprised Wanamaker was able to get so wide open:
His older brother, pro guard Juan Dixon, played for Maryland in an '01 classic when Duke erased a 10-point deficit in the final 54 seconds and won in overtime.
"Personally," Jermaine Dixon said, "I knew the game wasn't over."
It wasn't quite the "Miracle Minute," but it will be remembered as one of the most amazing comebacks in Pitt history.
Louisville’s lead could’ve been more than four, but Edgar Sosa missed two free throws late in the game. On the ensuing Pitt possession, Jermaine Dixon drove to the hoop, but had his shot swatted into the first row by Louisville’s Samardo Samuels. On the inbounds pass from Dixon, Wanamaker stood all alone in the left corner and knocked down a 3-pointer, his only attempt from beyond the arc all game.Rick Pitino seemed to take this one hard. Real hard:
“Ashton and me crossed, and with Ashton being the shooter they followed him and left me open,” Wanamaker said.
"Outside of Duke and Christian Laettner, this was the worst loss I ever had to experience," Pitino said after Pitt's 82-77 overtime victory.As I mentioned yesterday, Nasir Robinson was a big part of the victory, but without Brad Wanamaker's three-pointer and free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game, Pitt gets dealt a harsh loss. He's grown up quite a bit from the freshman who played so sloppily that many (including myself) wondered if he'd ever make key contributions to Pitt. There's no doubt now, though, that he can step up in big games.
Joe Starkey at the Trib says it's the little things Pitt did that helped win the game.
The shot chart on the game showed that unlike the UCONN contest, Pitt managed to force Louisville to make outside shots.
The loss may end up to be a costly one for Louisville, still without a signature win.
I think Jamie Dixon said it best:
"We found a way to win," Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon said. "They're a good team with good players. It was a well executed game and we battled through. I'm not going to single out any guys. The rebounding numbers speak to how well our guys played, especially against a rebounding team. It was a good win against a good team."With two solid wins this week, Pitt is due to move up in the polls.