*** Pitt throws up a non-conference clunker every once in a while (Wofford comes to mind), and Rider certainly is a lot better than the team that lost at Robert Morris by 26 two nights ago. But Pitt’s youth got exposed defensively for large stretches tonight, and Jamie Dixon will have a lot of coaching to do as the team keeps moving along in its non-conference schedule after Sunday’s right 86-78 win over Rider. Here is the early game story.
*** Rider shot 53 percent from the field and had only five turnovers. Tjey also matched Pitt in the paint, 32-all. Not good defensive numbers for a Pitt team ranked No. 10 in the nation against a MAAC school that got creamed at Robert Morris.
*** On the bright side, Pitt outrebounded Rider, 43-19, (including 20 to 4 on the offensive boards) and shot 50 percent from the field. But the Panthers shot 34 3-pointers, compared to only 28 shots inside the arc.
*** The biggest sequence came in the second half when Pitt went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good, 79-73. Lamar Patterson’s steal set up a Tray Woodall 3-pointer with a great shooter’s roll. Nasir Robinson drew a charge, blocked a shot and had a put-back during the run. Dante Taylor had a blocked shot and a layup — he missed the subsequent free throw — in the stretch.
Woodall said the team stayed poised during the stretch
“We know if we get a stop, we know we have a chance at getting a basket. There are no six-point plays. We just had to do it one stop at a time.”
Added Gibbs, “We started getting stops. It wasn’t our best performance, but we got through it.”
Added Gibbs on the team’s defense
“It was alot of miscommunications on pick and rolls. After a while we started switching one to five. They had a lot of shooters. We closed out and sometimes they want past us and sometimes they made shots.”
On Pitt’s performance
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, there is no question about it, especially on the defensive end. They made shots, they played well and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“We made some adjustments – I won’t tell you what they were – at the eight-minute timeout. I finally got a little bit smarter. We got it turned a little bit. We’ve got some work to do.
“We need to be active. We just didn’t do it. They spaced it and drove us early. They started driving 3s. It was lay-ups, it was 3s. They shot 58 percent and had five turnovers. That was offensive efficiency.”
On team’s youth
“We’ve got so many young guys out there at times I think it holds back our older guys.”
On team’s offense
“We had open looks. Our offense was pretty good. We shot 50 percent, we got 20 offensive rebounds, only had nine turnovers. You just can’t give up that kind of numbers. You shouldn’t win if a team shoots 53 percent and has five turnovers.”
On freshman guard John Johnson
“The kid is confident, there’s no question about it. He’s going to be a really good player. I think everyone can see that.”
On Malcolm Gilbert
“I anticipate him playing this year and not red-shirting.”
*** Rider coach Tommy Dempsey post-game quotes
“We came here to win a basketball game. We were embarrassed with our we played on Friday night. It was a real competitive response. We came here to win, and we didn’t win.”
On Rider’s perimeter attack
“Against big teams, we try to drag their bigs out and make them guard us on the perimeter. Our forward are more driving, attacking type forwards, similar to a guy like Nasir Robinson, so when they had the big guys in the game we tried to drag them up to the perimeter and take advantage of them a little bit. That created a lot of help defense – we were able to get it by their bigs – and then our guys shared the ball really nice.”
On Pitt’s frontline
“It’s very good. I just think there are some tough match-ups out there for a team like us. Our guys are undersized and quick. We didn’t try to score through them at all. I think the reason we were so successful in the points in the paint is because we were able to take it around them and not try to go through them.”
On offensive game-plan
“We had to spread them out. We can spread you out because we have so many guys that can shoot the ball. We can get your big chasing a little bit. We got their bigs chasing a little bit. They were really struggling with our action, so they started to switch everything. Then we were able to get it inside against their guards. I think we just caused them a lot of problems with our motion and our action, and they got chasing much more than they would have liked to. They made a lot of adjustments and I thought we were able to respond to their adjustments and then go inside against their guards.”