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On location, Florida 61, Pitt 45, NCAA Tournament

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

ORLANDO, Fla. — Looking ahead to tipoff …

Game: Pitt (26-9) vs. Florida (33-2), NCAA Tournament third round

Time: 12:15 p.m.

Site: Amway Center

TV, radio: TBS (national), 93.7 The Fan

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Pitt pageKevin Gorman, photographer Chris Horner and I are on the scene for the Trib.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Let’s go Pitt!

  2. Arriba Wilver says:

    Looks like it’s on CBS here. I guess I’ll have to DVR both just in case.

  3. hockeymonster says:

    Awww hell…who double booked again?

  4. JRay3 says:

    Huge opportunity for these Panthers this afternoon against the overall #1 seeded Gators. Pitt playing its best basketball of the year at just the right time and if they play anywhere near the level they did on Thursday they will give Floria all they can handle.

    Win or lose what a successful season for Pitt and Jamie Dixon. To think a few weeks ago, many Pitt fans were saying this team did not belong in the NCAA’s and should be NIT bound. Today, led by the senior leadership of Patterson and Zanna and the many contributions of Wright, JRob, Young and the bench, Pitt finds itself in the Round of 32.

    What a fun ride this season has been, heart breaking losses, improbable overtime finishes, a thrilling come from behind win at Clemson down 5 with just 5 seconds to play that maybe the catalyst to this run and another chance at reaching the Sweet Sixteen.

    Hope this ride isn’t over just yet, Go Pitt!

  5. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I understand what DK was saying in the article today, but I’m pretty sure that a Pitt win would be a big upset to everyone outside of the Pitt locker room. In fact, it could be argued that it would be the biggest upset in Pitt history.

    Pitt definitely with a lot of momentum, but I’m not convinced they’re playing better than they were at the beginning of the season (up to the Duke game). They may be playing as well as they have all season, but not better.

    With that in mind, considering their track record against top level teams this season, I’m skeptical that they can pull out this game. They can keep it close and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re in position to win around the 4 minute remaining mark of the 2nd half, but we’ve seen them unable to close out those games against good teams all season.

    Here’s hoping they can find a way to pull off the UPSET.

  6. JRay3 says:

    Terrible call there leading into the first media timeout on Zanna, Young had all the contact by ref gets intimidated right in front of Florida bench.

    Important Zanna does not pick up another quick foul here.

  7. DemonDachshund says:

    Not liking what I’m seeing on the boards right now. Pitt HAS to win the rebounding battle if they want to win this one.

  8. JRay3 says:

    One positive sign in first 8 minutes, Florida press not having any impact on Pitt, they are having zero issues getting ball up court.

  9. J Walter Weatherman says:

    You’re drinking the Jamie Dixon Kool-Aid. Rebounding is not as important as shooting. They need to start shooting better, LP in particular, if they’re to win this game.

  10. JRay3 says:

    Both team shooting 33% to start, Pitt has had some open looks, going to need some shots to fall in this one to hang with Florida.

  11. J Walter Weatherman says:

    The press is still having an effect. By the time Pitt gets going in their offense, the shot clock is under 20, and they’re getting into the funk of passing the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock is winding down.

  12. Andrew says:

    And taking less than ideal shots.

  13. Aaron says:

    Absolutely! Need to keep hitting the boards and knocking down shots…..4 point play!!!!!

  14. JRay3 says:

    They still have plenty of time to get ball low, and Zanna has finished his chances….not forcing any turnovers.

  15. JRay3 says:

    NEWKIRK!!!

  16. JRay3 says:

    Nearly ten minutes in and we get first foul call on Gators.

  17. Aaron says:

    Air ball…..we may have Florida rattled a bit.

  18. Aaron says:

    Pitt ABSOLUTELY must hit some mid range jumpers in this game and keep working for better shots.

  19. Andrew says:

    Certainly but after breaking the press a few times they had guys take quick shots from the wing. I think rebounding is important as it prevents the press.

  20. Aaron says:

    Pitt Giving up too many easy shots and second chances…..tighten it up guys!

  21. J Walter Weatherman says:

    LP needs to start making some shots … soon.

  22. JRay3 says:

    Florida with 4 turnovers while Pitt has just 1. Pitt making things very tough for Gators offensively, however Pitt needs some guys to get hot scoring the ball. Have had chances to build a little lead.

  23. Aaron says:

    Talib can’t do it alone….LP has to pick it up

  24. J Walter Weatherman says:

    This is a valid point where rebounding is important … but still not as much as shooting.

  25. Aaron says:

    Pitt HAS to start hitting some shots or this is going to get ugly. Florida will get their points, so Pitt has to get some offense from LP and company and SOON.

  26. DemonDachshund says:

    Wright and Newkirk were bringing the ball up previously… That was working.

    Now Robinson has the ball in his hands, and it’s very chunky again.

  27. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Florida plays defense as well as anyone Pitt has played this season. The ONLY chance Pitt has to win this game is if LP starts catching fire. Sometimes it is that simple.

  28. JRay3 says:

    Important final four minutes to half here. Pitt really challenged offensively the last few sets and nobody is hitting shots, that has to change.

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is a pivotal point in the game. It can get away from them here. An 8 or 10 point lead in a game like this is a big lead. And Pitt can’t baet this team simply relying on their half court offense. they’re just not efficient enough. They need to get easy baskets in transition if they’re to have any chance.

  30. Aaron says:

    How is that not a foul?!?!

  31. Milo Hamilton says:

    Note to self – when posting on smaller device remember your glasses. :)

  32. DemonDachshund says:

    At least they didn’t call it the other way like earlier in the game, when Zanna fouled the guy’s hand with his face.

  33. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Do you think Belichick put that Florida visor on after he heard Tomlin was at the game supporting Pitt? Or do you think he’s wearing an Aaron Hernandez jersey under his shirt?

  34. Aaron says:

    Lol….you just knew he would be wearing one after seeing Tomlin.

  35. Aaron says:

    Huge shot right there!

  36. Kevnj says:

    Big shot

  37. 21sthebest says:

    I couldn’t call the round of 32 a successful season.

  38. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Florida doesn’t let you break them down off the dribble to create easy shots inside; this is what Pitt does when their offense is at its best. Pitt’s weakness is outside shooting, and they have exactly one player who can make a challenged outside shot – LP. This is why he is the only hope Pitt has in this game.

  39. Patrick(ri) says:

    The ultimate tv snippet: Patriots head coach in the crowd, wearing a Gator visor! More amusing than Tomlinson and his kids.

    Looks like Billy has a better game plan, so far . . .

  40. Aaron says:

    The second half needs to be the Lamar Patterson show.

  41. Patrick(ri) says:

    I should read before posting, sorry.

  42. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Wait a second … where have we seen that before?

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    Two more fouls to give & you let them get a shot off ? Are you kidding ? Completely inexcusable. Poor coaching or poor execution. Pick one. Never should have gotten a shot off. Horrible.

  44. Aaron says:

    The 25 foot three point runner at the buzzer to end the half. Not a great way to go into the half….

  45. JRay3 says:

    Wow, can’t defend that any better, how many times can that type of shot happen against Pitt this season? Huge shots by Patterson and Young near the end of the half.

    All considering, Pitt still in this game the way they have played on the defensive side of the court. Going to take some transition, easy buckets and one or two players to get hot in the second half.

  46. DemonDachshund says:

    Given the first quick foul, I have to assume it was execution.

  47. Milo Hamilton says:

    Two fouls to give with 3.5 seconds left it is physically impossible to score. Unless you’re Pitt. Absolutely ridiculous.

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    Two fouls to give they should have never been allowed across half court. Blunder of epic proportions.

  49. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Agree. They could’ve defended it much better. The way this game is going, the difference between a 2 point and 5 point deficit is huge.

  50. Aaron says:

    If Pitt can’t start scoring with LP getting a hit hand and taking it over…..Florida will win. Pitt needs some cheap baskets in transition and LP has to do what he does.

  51. 21sthebest says:

    Unbelievable.

  52. Jim S. says:

    Pitt is hanging tough with a very good team in a hostile environment – although that last 3.5 seconds was a killer. Those 3 points may come back to haunt them. I have a feeling somebody missed an assignment there, but it was still a tough runner.

    The announcers are spot on that Pitt needs to get into its offense quicker. This is not an ordinary team that eventually leaves someone wide open for a late layup very often if you keep working the ball. Florida is built to play 35 seconds of defense every possession. I think Pitt needs to attack more, and sooner.

    Obviously, it would help if Pitt could make a few more shots. But, Florida is probably thinking the same thing. The defense has mostly been great both ways. After a few early offensive rebounds allowed, Pitt seemed to clean that up over the last 10-12 minutes, which was good to see. Everyone started defensive rebounding for Pitt, which seems necessary when you know you won’t be able to fastbreak much.

    All in all, though, they are right with this team. Need to sharpen up the play in the 2nd half a notch to keep Florida from pulling away. I think Pitt will make a few adjustments and take this game to the wire. What a great win this would be. I think the whole tournament field would owe Pitt a giant thank you. It does not look as though Florida is fun to play against at all.

  53. Baywatch says:

    Strange game: Pitt only behind 5 at the half … but it FEELS like they’re behind by 30! They looks physically worn out and afraid.

  54. JRay3 says:

    I don’t disagree about using the other foul, but the guy hit a running 25 footer with three guys around him, sometimes a guy knocks down a tough shot.

  55. DemonDachshund says:

    The point is, you DON’T defend it. You let them get the ball in, dribble twice, and intentionally reach in, killing 2 seconds off the clock. Repeat and it’s halftime with a 2 point game. Unless they put Jones in to actually defend for 5 seconds, that was the entire point of him being in the game… His only job was to take that foul. He had a hand on the guy but didn’t get enough of him to draw the call. Total failure.

  56. Milo Hamilton says:

    The other 2 fouls you mean. This a completely black & white situation. There is no “sometimes somebody hits a tough shot” here.

  57. Jim S. says:

    I think the lead announcer believes they are down by 15 or 20.

  58. DemonDachshund says:

    Need Patterson to get hot and get Zanna going inside. Any other scenario that has Pitt winning would involve one of their role players like Newkirk or Artis going nuts with 3s, and I don’t see that happening.

  59. Jim S. says:

    I just remembered I have Florida winning the office pool.

    I’ll gladly give that up just to see Pitt stage a big 2nd half rally and get to the Sweet 16.

  60. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Patrick Young looks like a thinner version of DeJuan Blair.

  61. Jim S. says:

    Jones was in to commit 2 fouls, I think, JRay. He committed 1 to get it to 3.5, but then the guy just beat them up the court. It was a tough shot, but it was makeable. I have to agree that it was very poor execution by Pitt there.

  62. Andrew says:

    Patric Young is a great athlete, but how many times do you get to switch pivot feet.

  63. JRay3 says:

    Yes on Jones part, not on Dixon, he instructed to foul, player did not adhere to it. End result a tought shot was made.

  64. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Cam Wright is having a pretty awful game.

  65. Aaron says:

    Wow…..the wheels are coming off the upset bus…..if Pitt isn’t careful this could get ugly…. FAST

  66. JRay3 says:

    Getting worked on the glass, just simply can’t allow three chances to score. Pitt on the ropes early in the second half here.

  67. Florida Steeler says:

    Zero offense out of Wright and Robinson today. Cam Wright looks lost out there. Cannot win with zero offense out of 2/3 of your lineup.

  68. Aaron says:

    I hate to say it, but in the game within the game of Young vs. Zanna…..Young is winning hands down.

  69. Jim S. says:

    at 32-24, they have to get a bucket here and, then, hopefully a stop at the other end to restore order.

    Wright and Robinson reallly struggling with poise today in the face of this pressure.

  70. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m getting the impression that this game was over at halftime.

  71. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Can’t be too hard on a college athlete, but when you come out with bold quotes about not being intimidated by anyone, then come out and play really poorly … it doesn’t look good.

  72. Aaron says:

    Let’s stand at near midcourt until there is 5 seconds on the shot clock and then get the ball to LP.

  73. DemonDachshund says:

    Pitt was a #9 for a reason. They’re a good team, but not a great one. Zanna’s disappearing in the face of a great inside defender and Pitt has no reliable scoring options.

  74. Aaron says:

    Turnover….. ALley oop…..crowd roaring…..can’t get within 20 feet of basket…..Florida scores…..Pitt down 10….bring out the forks and get ready to turn out the lights.

    All of Pitts tough talk before the game seems to have been just that…… all talk.

  75. DemonDachshund says:

    It was 15-10 at one point. 24-9 Gators since.

  76. JRay3 says:

    Florida starting to show why they are the #1 overall seed in the tournament. Pitt just confused on offense, no confidence, don’t know when to run, settling for poor shots and nobody stepping up.

  77. Andrew says:

    They were a #9 because they were under-seeded, I wouldn’t appeal to the NCAA committee as a source of objective evaluation. But Florida is in a different class, epitome of Jamie Dixon wants in a team.

  78. Milo Hamilton says:

    Scottie Wilbekin is a tremendous player.

  79. DemonDachshund says:

    I keep looking for Carl Krauser on the point.

  80. Aaron says:

    Wow….Zanna can’t make a layup….I hate to say it, but this game is over.

  81. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Jamie Dixon has no shooters and no answers. Pitt’s guards have completely disappeared and now Zanna is back to missing layups.

  82. Aaron says:

    Cut Newkirk loose and see if he can do anything….. This is becoming embarrassing. Pitt players standing around….they have given up.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Florida is 4 for 14 shooting in the 2nd half. And they have extended to their largest lead.

  84. JRay3 says:

    Yep, was about to say the only thing that could keep Pitt in this is the fact the Florida does not shoot the ball well. But Pitt has been abysmal offensively and just do not see that changing.

  85. hockeymonster says:

    Be the ball…be the ball…

  86. Andrew says:

    This has gone from Florida beating Pitt to Pitt helping them out.

  87. Aaron says:

    No offense DK, but does a Pitt win still seem like it wouldn’t be much of an upset now?

  88. Jim S. says:

    What we are seeing is a team playing the style of basketball that is pretty similar to what Pitt plays, only they are so athletic that they are able to do the same things at a much higher level.

    And, amazingly, they are maybe the most physical team in the country on every possession while apparently rarely committing fouls.

  89. Patrick(ri) says:

    The Florida Gator big men are treating Pitt’s like raw meat — I had some doubts about Fla — no more.

  90. Aaron says:

    Let’s not overlook the fact that Pitts starting backcourt has 1 point, on a free throw, 30 minutes into the game. Yikes.

  91. J Walter Weatherman says:

    With LP and Zanna gone next year, who is going to make up that 30 ppg for Pitt? If you think Pitt is offensively challenged this game, I’m not sure it’s going to get better next year.

  92. Patrick(ri) says:

    ++

  93. Milo Hamilton says:

    Cam Wright doing his best Gilbert Brown & JJ Moore impression.

  94. Jim S. says:

    2 fouls committed in the first 29.5 minutes. Then, a timeout, and they get 2 quick ones.

    Pitt is not playing well. But, if FL is allowed to be this physical w/o getting fouls the entire tournament, no one will have much of a chance vs. them.

  95. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I understand what DK was trying to say in the article, but that notion was ludicrous. A Pitt win would’ve been a huge upset.

  96. Aaron says:

    We could break this down on a granular level, but the simple fact is Florida is the better team….all around….plain and simple. Pitt had all of their weaknesses exposed and were not up for matching the intensity and physical play of the Gators today.

    Pitt is a good team and not a great one and that is what we have seen here today. Outmatched and outclassed.

    Pitt had a good season.

  97. Andrew says:

    That is why having a consistent scorer means nothing when you have offensively challenged players.

  98. J Walter Weatherman says:

    At the end of the day, I think Pitt ended up exactly where most people thought at the beginning of the season, based on their talent level. Get into the tourney and win maybe one game. I don’t think that reflects well or poorly on Dixon or the players. They were who we thought they were.

  99. Milo Hamilton says:

    If Florida plays like this next weekend they won’t make it to Dallas.

  100. Aaron says:

    ++++. Well said

  101. Aaron says:

    Once again Pitt hits a playmaking buzzsaw in the tourney and his name is Scottie wilbekin….

  102. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Florida’s best player showed up. Pitt’s didn’t. Unfortunately, that will be LP’s legacy at Pitt. Never showed up for the big games.

  103. Aaron says:

    The announced made a great point about the difference between Florida and Pitt at the end of the shot clock..Florida has a playmaker who can create and Pitt has…..?

  104. J Walter Weatherman says:

    LP is their playmaker. When he doesn’t show up, like today, well you see the end result.

  105. Aaron says:

    7 points….none in second half…..even worse he only attempted 2 shots in the second half. LP turtled in the big game……sad deal.

  106. Aaron says:

    Precisely…see my reply to your comment above.

  107. Florida Steeler says:

    Pitt has little offense; it is very simple. And, if Robinson does not improve his offense and Jamie continues to recruit kids that cannot score; this is where Pitt will be every year. They had a very good season with the woefully inadequate offense they put on the floor. Durand will help but they need more than Durand.

  108. Aaron says:

    This is the same conversation Pitt fans have every year, isn’t it? I’ve been following this team since I went to Pitt in ’98 and it has always been a lack of a true scorer and shooters that does us in EVERY year.

  109. J Walter Weatherman says:

    A hearty acknowledgment to Dixon and crew for a very adequate season. Here’s hoping that some of the new faces next year can learn and contribute … quickly.

  110. Aaron says:

    Well, it was a season that we expected. It was fun chatting hoops with you guys. I’m sure I will see some of you on the pens thread!

  111. Aaron says:

    +++++. Indeed!

  112. JRay3 says:

    Well the better team won today. There is a reason the Gators have won 28 straight. They are as good a defensive team I have seen.

    Good year by Pitt, looking forward to seeing how these freshman develop and hope the recruiting continues to get better especially with Slice back.

    Can’t wait to see the team in person out in Maui next November.

  113. DemonDachshund says:

    Actually, I’ll disagree based on not expecting Patterson or Zanna to play as well as they did this year. I didn’t expect this team to make the tourney in the early season… Had you told me there’d be a round-of-32 exit, I would have happily signed up for that.

  114. Jim S. says:

    Well, we just saw the difference between where Pitt is currently and what it takes to beat an elite team. Florida is definitely elite. I still think they are the favorites to win it all.

    Two of Pitt’s major issues (at least for me) are:

    1) Lack of athleticism at guard;
    2) Lack of outside shooting

    Elite teams have point guards and at least 1 other player who can go to the hoop and get a decent shot at will when the pressure is on and/or when the shot clock is about to expire. Pitt does not have that yet. Hopefully, it is on the way.

    I think they are attempting to address outside shooting in recruiting (Rowan, for one).

    Next year a few guys need to step up in the absence of Zanna and Patterson – especially Patterson, who did a lot of things well.

  115. Milo Hamilton says:

    Big fan of Billy Donovan. Pitino without the slime.

  116. Patrick(ri) says:

    ++++ Eg, what he emphasized in post game

  117. Jim S. says:

    That’s unfair in my opinion. He would have needed to beat that team by himself, and no one thinks Patterson is a guy who can beat teams by himself. And, BTW, no one player in the country is beating that Florida team by himself. I don’t think that means he doesn’t show up in big games.

  118. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, Aaron. They don’t have playmakers. Wilbikon, Ennis, etc. Pitt has no one like that on the roster.

  119. Jim S. says:

    I hope you guys never have kids who play college sports. These are amateurs who are 18-22. I don’t think it is fair to rip and amateur like that.

  120. Jim S. says:

    Great description, Milo. He has to be pretty close to the top of the heap.

    And, no back room “incidents” on his resume.

  121. DemonDachshund says:

    They were #9 because they beat one top 25 team all year and played no one of note out of conference.

    My point was, however, that they are not one of the top 16 teams in the country, and it therefore isn’t a huge surprise that they couldn’t get to the sweet 16, especially given that they had to go through a #1 seed like Florida.

    Pitt was good, but not great. They pretty much reached their ceiling this year.

  122. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  123. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m with you, Jim.

  125. Milo Hamilton says:

    The thing that will stick with me for awhile is that Florida didn’t play well. If the Gators continue play like they did today they’ll be fortunate to win another game. Pitt talked a big game but when it came right down to it the stage was just too big for them.

  126. Arriba Wilver says:

    Virginia is better defensively this year.

  127. Arriba Wilver says:

    That, actually, was the one positive I took from this game. Artis and Newkirk stepped up a little. But most teams have focused on shutting down Patterson and Zanna.

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t like his haircut.

  129. Arriba Wilver says:

    Based on their talent level, I disagree.

  130. J Walter Weatherman says:

    ? It’s unfair to say that a kid didn’t play well? I don’t think any derogatory language was used. Just pointing out facts.

  131. J Walter Weatherman says:

    There goes Maatta’s Calder Trophy hopes down the drain. If there were any real hopes.

    The dreaded 3rd period lead strikes again for Pens.

  132. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Oops wrong thread – too much jumping around.

  133. Jim S. says:

    You said he didn’t show up. If you just meant he didn’t play well, than I have no disagreement with you.

    To me, “He didn’t show up” implies he was not trying. And saying he does that for every big game doesn’t seem fair or accurate.

  134. Jim S. says:

    That’s fair. They have not had elite scorers or athletes even in their best years.

    They can continue to be a Top 25 team most years without elite talent. But, they won’t be able to make long runs in the tourney.

  135. Jim S. says:

    Thanks.

  136. Aaron says:

    For the record I think all the Pitt kids were trying and playing as hard as they could…..they were just outmatched. I don’t think Patterson was dogging it, but I do think he wasn’t an elite level talent that could take over the entire game and beat a team by himself.

    Patterson needed some help and didn’t get it and his performance and consequently his stat line showed it.

    Was still our best player and I am sorry to see him go.

  137. Florida Steeler says:

    Facts do not matter to some on this blog.

  138. JAL says:

    Florida clearly the better team, especially in the backcourt

  139. 21sthebest says:

    I’m going based on Dixon’s entire body of work with the program over the years, my preseason expectations and how I adjusted them for the year.

  140. 21sthebest says:

    Adjusted during the year.

  141. 21sthebest says:

    But I’m not implying it was an unsuccessful season. It was a good season to me, but not great.

  142. Arriba Wilver says:

    The other thing is they got beat by the #1 overall seed, not someone they “should” have beaten. But I get that the seeding was based on their performance throughout the year. I didn’t want to say it before the game, but they were in a no lose situation today. Been much better if they had won, but . . .

  143. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Aaron.

  144. Pitt fans will get over any idea that Coach Dixon should be fired soon enough. After all, it’s doubtful as to whether anyone else would’ve or could’ve coached the Panthers any better than he has over recent years.

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