Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Game 12: Pitt 71 St Francis 47 "I felt fired up on the layup line"

Okay this is going to be a rather short recap.  I had a lady friend with me so let's just say I was distracted, so the grades won't feature as much detail as they normally would.

St. Francis (the Pennsylvania version) stinks.  They have 3 wins.

After tip-off the scoreboard turned off (sounds familiar) so the PA guy had to announce the score after every basket (hilarious I might add).

Pitt played a high school team in the early going, pretty sure it was 27-4 (as announced by the pa guy) or something at one point.  It reminded me of one game I went to in my pre-Zoo days against Auburn where Pitt jumped out to a huge lead (like yesterday) and the Zoo started shouting "You have 4 points" with about 3 minutes to go in the first half.  Pitt eventually won that 70-40 or something like that.

Auburn sucks.

So does St. Francis.  Pitt was picking their pockets left and right.  After Pitt built the huge lead, St Francis got hot for a few minutes to cut it to 15 but that's really as close as they got.  Very balanced attack from Pitt.  Grades city:

Robinson - Quiet game from Robinson.  I only remember him missing 2 free throws at one point (second one was almost an air ball).  He only took 4 shots in 25 minutes.  Pretty sure he also hurt his knee at some point because he was grimacing and limping for a little bit.  He walked it off though, like a boss.
Grade B

Wright - Cam actually scored for once.  He hit a couple jumpers and made all 4 of his free throws.  A few times he could've dumped it down to the post, but oh well.
Grade B

Gibbs - Not a lot of shots taken tonight (only 3-9 from the field, 1-3 from 3).  He had a nice drive and finish in the first half, when Pitt was scoring at will early on.  He got some much needed rest (only 25 minutes), but still this was his first game this season in single digits.
Grade B-

Patterson - With Woodall out, he's clearly the best passer on the team.  He played a lot at the 2 tonight, which is something I'd love to see more of from Dixon.  Your typical Patterson stat line, 11 pt 4 ast 5 reb 3 steals and a block in 20 productive minutes.
Grade A

Taylor - Taylor was grabbing every offensive board tonight (6 total) on his way to a 14 point night.  Nice touch around the basket.
Grade A

J. Johnson - He's in a bit of a slump right now.  He missed all three of his shots and had 2 turnovers while not contributing in any positive stat line.  Could it be teams are figuring his game out, or is this just a minor bump in the up and down first season of major college basketball for him?  I vote the latter.  He'll get hot again.  Kid is too talented.
Grade C

Nwankwo, Rivers - They both got some time.  Rivers had a turnover and Nwankwo grabbed an offensive board and missed a putback then got a foul.  Grade:  Walkon

JJ Moore - My game ball goes to him.  He was explosive tonight.  In the first half he dunked over some 6'8" joke and it was #7 on sportscenter's top ten this morning.  Something may have clicked with him.  He played a little with Patterson tonight.  My boys over at Pitt Blather mentioned that Moore made a dumb foul at one point, and Dixon motioned to put Patterson in.  Moore walked over to the bench until he realized that Patterson was going in for someone else.  He spun around and had a huge smile on his face.  Unlimited confidence from him.
Quote City from Moore
"I felt fired up on the layup line"
Grade: A+

Epps - Played 13 minutes, had a couple nice passes and missed his only shot.  Meh.
Grade B-

Zanna - 6 points and 5 rebounds from Talib-Town.  I think he knocked down a baseline jumper in the first half, that was pretty nice.  He's got range to about 12 feet.  Nice touch.
Grade B

Gilbert - Without a doubt, he IS the new Gary McGhee.  Not in that he's a turnover and foul machine as a freshman.  No, Gilbert is already now in 2 games what Gary took 3 years to figure out.  Pitt doesn't ever pass it to him when he's in there, but man is he a stud on defense.  He doesn't have the highlight blocks that Birch did (though he had one tonight from behind) but his tree length just gives opponents fits.  They can't shoot over him.  He's just huge.  He's also one of the few players that visually gets pumped up by the Zoo.  He looked over us once and smiled because we were shouting for him.  Very likable guy.  In tonight's game he had another dunk.  (He's still shooting 100% for his Pitt career btw).  He had 2 blocks as well as 3 rebounds.
Grade B+

-Other things of note.  I caught a t-shirt from Roc.  Took me more than 70 games to finally snag a shirt, but I did.  It's about bloody time.

Pitt plays again against Wagner on Friday.  You may remember Wagner from their matchup in the 2003 first round as the #15 seed.  Pitt then smoked Indiana (don't think anyone wants to play them right now, Cody Zeller is a beast) before falling to T-Mobile spokesman Dwyane Wade and the pre-big east marquette golden eagles in the Sweet 16.

Khem update - This will probably provide unlimited motivation for Pitt this season.  I'm gonna let Chas over at Pitt Blather provide you with some analysis.
He Khem and went

It's a good read and he has some other links in the story as well.

Also, apparently Zanna would make Khem his bitch everyday in practice, and Khem wanted no part of the contact.
Zanna's a beast.

In my opinion, right now Pitt is a better team right now without him.  Gilbert is providing just as much of a defensive presence.  I really want to avoid using a cliche, but Khem could've been an x-factor later on in the year if he developed and got stronger.  Again, playing the potential card, but the talent will be missed.  Unfortunately the attitude won't be.  Khem was a loner, and Pitt bball is a very close-knit group, that's why you rarely get people here complaining about playing time.  They all come to Pitt realizing that they're going to have to work to get PT and pay their dues.  I don't know the full story, whether Khem himself believed he was being wronged by Dixon or whether some asshole "advisors" are telling him this, who knows.
Good luck kid.


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