On the previous post, a lot was being said about Tyrell Biggs, and I would like to throw in my two cents’ worth. I really think that Tyrell has stepped up his game in the last month or so, and I’m going to go so far as to say that he is this team’s Mike Cook- while he doesn’t always put up huge numbers (though 14 points and 4 boards in 26 minutes against the Wildcats was solid), his contributions are much more than just stats. He really makes smart passes, and- while he does take the occasional ill-advised shot- makes good decisions on both offense and defense. Pitt certainly benefits from having him in the game, and I wouldn’t say that any of the bench players we put in are “minus” players at this point. Brad Wanamaker and Gary McGhee are definitely learning on the fly, but remember that DeJuan was getting into foul trouble early on and is still learning how to control himself around the basket and avoid stupid fouls. Don’t be too hard on Gary, he’ll learn a lot this season and should be a very solid backup center.
Anyways, now my thoughts about the actual game. I was worried in the second half that this might become a Rutgers- after getting that layup and the foul to put the ‘Cats up 39-38, Scottie Reynolds looked like a man ready to take the game over. I think the luckiest thing is that he missed the free throw- this prevented Villanova from using their energy in a press defense, instead allowing the Panthers to get the ball up the floor and re-take the lead for the last time. Big game also from Sam Young- he only scored 15, but he didn’t let a slow shooting first half stop him from making better decisions in the second half and ending up with 15 points. Pitt as a whole needs to work on shot selection a bit- both in the shots we take and the ones we don’t. There’s been a few times in the last few games when Gil Brown and Brad Wanamaker have been out on the perimeter, alone, and hesitated long enough to let the defender come to them. Unless they’re in a situation where we’re down by 1 point with twelve seconds left, I’d actually like to see them take the open shots- they need to work on their confidence. On the flip side, it seems sometimes we’re rushing shots when we DON’T have the open look, especially on second chances. Pitt’s a team that works the ball around for the open shot, and we need to be more consistent in that factor. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement before the UConn game, and a preview of that will be up shortly.