3-point display sparks big Pitt victory
Lamar Patterson drives to the basket against Howard Tuesday night at Petersen Events Center. Patterson tied for team scoring honors with 15 points.
Howard's Theodore Boyomo, right, grabs Talib Zanna. Zanna contributed 12 points and eight rebounds.
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For one, he did not believe this would be among his best 3-point shooting teams, but the Panthers have been proving him wrong in recent games, including in their 70-46 victory against Howard University Tuesday night at the Petersen Events Center.
Dixon also thought he would field one of his better rebounding teams, but the Panthers have underperformed on the boards. Howard became the second opponent in the past three games to outrebound the Panthers, and Dixon was not happy about it.
But first, the positives from the game.
Lamar Patterson continued his hot streak with a third consecutive double-figure scoring game with 15 points to lead the Panthers (6-1). All 15 came from 3-pointers. Patterson set his career high with five 3-pointers.
He had four in the first half, which equaled the number he had in the first six games. He was 4 for 17 from 3-point range entering the game, but he was 5 for 8 against Howard.
"I'm building some confidence," Patterson said. "I'm working hard in practice, and it's translating into the games. I really didn't change anything. Today, they just fell. Four for 17, that's not like me. Today, it felt good."
The Panthers were 8 for 19 from 3-point range and are shooting 34.8 percent from behind the arc. In the past three games, they have shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range after failing to reach 30 percent in three of the first four games.
"We're taking good shots," Dixon said. "We're moving the ball. The assist-to-turnover [ratio] is a reflection of our unselfishness. I wouldn't call us the greatest shooting team, but the most important thing, percentage-wise, is taking good shots.
"They were packing it in. If a team is packing it in, it's going to be harder to get touches and get scores and to get the ball to the big guys. At the end of the day, if you're packing it in, you're going to give up things. We did a good job of shooting the right 3s. We did a good job in that area."
That was about the only praise Dixon had for his team. The rest of his postgame time at the podium was spent mostly harping on his team's ineffective zone offense and the poor rebounding.
Howard (1-6) held a 37-36 lead in rebounds. As a result, the Bison outscored the Panthers, 34-32, in the paint and shot 41 percent. The difference was that Pitt outscored them by 21 points behind the 3-point line and by nine at the free-throw line.
"We started out the year pretty strong rebounding-wise," Dixon said. "It's something that should be a strength of ours, but it's not right now. We need to address it. We spent two days addressing it, but it's just not getting done. That's where we're at right now. We're forcing turnovers. That has something to do with it, but it's something we have to get better at. There are too many that are hitting our hands, and we're not getting them."
The Bison, whose only victory of the season came against Division II Wilmington University, kept the score close until halftime. They trailed, 36-28, by slowing down the pace with a variety of zone defenses that had the Panthers perplexed.
The Panthers attacked the zone better in the second half, but they pulled away from the Bison because their defense improved and led to more transition points.
Dixon said better success against zone defenses will come if the offensive rebounding improves.
"We have to get more put-backs, more offensive rebounds against the zone," he said.
"That's something you need to get, and we're not getting enough of those. We have to get more interior touches. We're just not active enough. I thought we would be, but we're not."
NOTES -- Durand Johnson played only four minutes because of a hamstring injury. ... Dixon did not give any indication of when Trey Zeigler might return to the lineup. Zeigler was suspended until further notice after being cited for driving under the influence over the weekend. "We're still trying to figure that out," Dixon said. ... Pitt's bench contributed a season-low 15 points. The Panthers had been averaging 31 points per game from their reserves.
First Published November 28, 2012 12:00 am