Panthers finish non-conference season 12-1

My pick for leading scorer this evening was Keith Benjamin. I have been a fan of his since he donned his #13 jersey in his freshman season.

Since the loss of Levance, I have thought about that season a lot. It was a year where Pitt was predicted to do really well. Stars like Chevon Troutman and Chris Taft were supposed to lead Pitt to success. Carl Krauser was our point guard, and two freshman turned up on the roster: Ronald Ramon and Keith Benjamin, known then as the “Young Gunnaz.”

We also lost our last non-conference game that season, on January 2, to a Patriot League surprise team out of Bucknell.

With all of the talk recently about Ronald Ramon, well, sucking, I pondered that time so long ago. Ronald Ramon started his first game as a freshman. He was a hot outside shooter, and people loved him for his clutch scoring.

How, three years later, do people turn their nose up when he is our starting point guard? Honestly, he hasn’t been performing. He has given everyone a reason to doubt him. Tonight, however, he silenced his critics with a sharp three 3-pointers and 11 points.

Keith Benjamin, who I have long considered one of the least utilized tools that Pitt has, lit it up with a career high 20 points.

The dark horse of the evening was Tyrell Biggs. He scored 19 points. In games such as the tragedy that was Dayton, when DeJuan Blair gets into foul trouble, Tyrell will need to step up. Not only did he score in quantity, he scored in quality. He put up some moves that were seriously impressive. The tandem of Young, Blair, and Biggs is something that every team in the conference wishes they could boast.

I think it is fitting tonight, being the final non-conference game of the season, to pose this question:
Is it the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

Hopefully to all of those who were able to see the game tonight, Jamie Dixon and the Panthers have given you reason to believe that the season is not over. The players we have left still have lots to prove. We have not yet begun to fight.

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2 Responses to “Panthers finish non-conference season 12-1”

  1. J Jones Says:

    I was shocked at the way everybody came out and played tonight. Keith Benjamin and Tyrell Biggs played the best games of their careers. Ronald Ramon played an extremely efficient game at point guard. The rest of the rotation definitely played the way we are going to need them to play down the stretch.This game went exactly how it needed to. I probably enjoyed this game as much as any game I’ve ever seen at the Pete. So much heart and determination from the 7 man rotation. Let’s wait until Sunday before anointing this new lineup as the second coming. Lafayette was on the lower end of the teams that we have played this season. They shot lights out in the first half to make the game competitive. I don’t think we can take anything from this game other than the confidence these guys needed to push onward.Our big three tonight Benjamin, Biggs, and Ramon have played pretty much one good game this season. If they can continue this play the sky is the limit for this team. Our we supposed to completely forget the rest of the games they played this year. Lafayette is barely better than Houston Baptist, North Carolina A&T, etc. from earlier in the year.The Big East is a completely different animal than tonight. I’m excited these guys have a ton of fight left in them. Everybody is going to need to do what they did tonight every single game the rest of the way out. This season is still a giant uphill climb.

  2. Drew Margulis Says:

    It certainly was refreshing to see them pull out an impressive win with Blair only attempting 6 shots. I think Sunday will be a real barometer for the rest of the season…if they can pull out a tough win at Villanova, I can still see this being a special season, especially with Levance slated to return by March.


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