Pitt Closes Out The Regular Season On A Three-Game Losing Skid


Jan 14, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon (L) gestures as an official reverses a call giving the Panthers the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 73-64. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jamie Dixon and his Pitt Panthers controlled their own destiny:

Win the final three games and likely receive an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

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Pitt racked up a bad loss on the road with a collapse against Wake Forest, collapsed in front of a home crowd against Bubble-foe Miami, and fell on the road to Florida State this afternoon.

As frustrating, disappointing, and sad as it is, the reality is that Pitt has been a mediocre team all season.

Today, Pitt failed to make open shots and continued to struggle defensively, allowing easy lay-ups.  This was the theme for most of the year, despite the few upsets over UNC and Notre Dame.

The only way Pitt can make the NCAA Tourney would be winning the ACC Tournament next week in Greensboro, which may seem like a miracle with two potential No. 1 seeds in the field (Duke, Virginia).

The Panthers only managed to score 52 points against a team they had defeated earlier this season, despite forcing 19 turnovers.

As usual, sophomore forward Jamel Artis reached double-digit scoring for the 16th consecutive game, adding 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting for Pitt (19-13, 8-10 ACC), while sophomore guard Josh Newkirk scored 12 points off the bench on just 4 of 13 shooting.

Artis has turned into a go-to scorer, but he does need to work on ball-handling, as he committed four turnovers.

Sophomore forward Michael Young struggled against the size of FSU, scoring 8 points on only 3 of 12 shooting.

Sophomore forward Sheldon Jeter was responsible for the late success by Pitt, but he only had 2 shots in the game and didn’t score.  I have to question coaching when it comes to his lack of a role in the offense as of late.

Pitt needed leadership this season, and senior guard Cameron Wright has been disappointing, scoring 2 points on 1 of 6 shooting with four personal fouls today. Dixon has relied upon seniors to step up and lead his teams, and this has not happened this season, as it did last year with Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna.

Senior center Derrick Randall, and junior center Joseph Uchebo never got into the game and have failed to provide any impact at the center position.  Junior college transfer center Tyrone Haughton has never gotten into a game.

As characteristic of Pitt teams when everything is on the line, Pitt lacked energy, was outshot, out-rebounded, had less assists, steals, free throws, and blocks, and committed more fouls.  The only advantage for Pitt was in the turnover category.

Pitt wants to shoot three-pointers (5 of 21 today), even though they are not a good three-point shooting team with junior Durand Johnson.  FSU was 5 of 9 from behind the arc.

Pitt shot 33%, missing two key three-pointers while trailing by only four points with under 1:30 left to play.  Instead of driving to the basket, Pitt settled for three-pointers.

The Seminoles (16-15, 8-10 ACC) shot 48%, led by freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes’ 19 points and senior center Kiel Turpin’s 10 points on Senior Day.

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  • I do not understand why Wright continued to start for Pitt all season, and Jeter has not been involved more in the offense, especially after he carried Pitt to a win over Syracuse.  At this point in the season, I would have rather seen Jeter, Newkirk, and Jones taking his minutes, as all of these sophomores need to continue to improve.

    Pitt was picked to finish 6th in the ACC, but the Panthers may finish as low as 10th after the rest of the ACC games are played today.

    As a die-hard Pitt fan, I’m extremely disappointed with how Pitt responded the final three games of the season with so much on the line.

    I could understand losing in a close battle on a buzzer-beater, but Pitt’s lack of energy and urgency have to be traced back to the coach.


    The ACC Tournament starts next Tuesday, but it appears that Pitt would be fortunate to receive an NIT bid after the three-game skid.

    My Pitt Panthers will need a miracle ACC-run to get into the Big Dance.

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