Shooting woes have haunted Pitt the past two games
March 7, 2016 12:00 AM
Guard James Robinson and the Pitt Panthers have had some shooting woes in their past two games.
By Paul Zeise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After Pitt has lost games this year coach Jamie Dixon has talked about defensive breakdowns as the culprit.
But that’s not the case for the Panthers on their current two-game slide, They defended well enough to beat Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The problem was they shot poorly in both games. Pitt was 0 for 11 from the 3-point range Saturday in a 63-59 loss at Georgia Tech and 3 of 21 in a 65-61 loss Wednesday at Virginia Tech.
The Panthers also shot less than 40 percent from the floor in both games. And while they have been one of the best teams in the ACC at getting assists, Saturday they had only six assists on 24 made field goals. And Dixon said that is not acceptable because it shows they were not running the offense consistently.
“The last game we didn’t get them, too, and it is usually not something that we have to talk about in terms of a specific number of assists we want to get, it just seems to happen,” he said. “But it is not happening, so we’ve tried to set a goal to get a specific number and we did that in the Duke game, but we didn’t do it in these last two games.
“The ball movement is not as good as it needs to be. We are not playing as much inside out as we would like to, we’re not scoring well enough, simply put. We’ve got to shoot a higher percentage if we are going to win games, especially on the road.”
Adding to the frustration is that the Panthers aren’t getting the second-chance points that usually come as a good offensive rebounding team. Against the Yellow Jackets, they got only nine offensive rebounds and 10 second-chance points; against the Hokies, they had only eight offensive rebounds and eight second-chance points.
“You have to make some shots and when you look we were 0 for 11 and 3 for 21,” Dixon said. “They made us take some tough shots. We tried to take less 3s [against Georgia Tech] but we didn’t finish a couple of shots at the rim and couldn’t draw fouls.
“But you’d think, I mean, we should have gotten some more offensive rebounds considering how many missed shots [we had]. That is a strength of ours, something that we have emphasized, and our rebounding numbers have been good lately, but the reality is, when you go 0 for 11 from 3, you get outrebounded by eight, you aren’t leaving yourself many opportunities to win.”
One thing the Panthers would like to see is better production from junior Jamel Artis. He is the team’s second-leading scorer but has a rough stretch, going 3 for 17 from the field the past two games and 0 for 7 from 3-point range. Perhaps even more alarming, he had only four rebounds against the Hokies and none in 32 minutes against the Yellow Jackets.
“When you look at his numbers, it is hard to figure out what we are doing,” Dixon said. “It is hard to have guys out there playing a lot of minutes and not giving you the results that you need. I don’t know if he is tired; he wasn’t tired two games ago [against Duke,] but we certainly haven’t gotten the results that we need the last two games.”
Sheldon Jeter, who scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Georgia Tech, was one of only two players who scored in double figures. He isn’t sure why they haven’t gone into the basket more the past two games.
“It is not like we are taking a lot of bad shots … we had a lot of clean misses of open looks,” Jeter said. “But the season is not over, it is not over — I can’t stress that enough. We still have the ACC tournament to try and get it right.”
NOTES — Pitt junior forward Mike Young was named third-team All-ACC as voted upon by Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA). ... Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon claimed player of the year and defensive player of the year accolades. Duke’s Brandon Ingram (freshman of the year), Miami’s Jim Larranaga (coach of the year), Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame (most improved) and North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks (sixth man) also received individual honors. ... Brogdon, Blossomgame, Brice Johnson (North Carolina), Anthony Barber (N.C. State) and Grayson Allen (Duke) earned first-team honors.
Paul Zeise: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @paulzeise.
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