Friday the 13th struck again in the United States, despite the Pitt and Gonzaga game being played on Saturday morning in Japan.
Pitt traveled a long way this week to only play 20 minutes of a college basketball game.
In the Armed Forces Classic against No. 9 Gonzaga at Foster Field House in Okinawa, Japan, the referees decided to cancel the game after halftime, where Pitt lead 37-35.
The game was canceled due to slippery court conditions, in which several players fell and the game was deemed too dangerous. In particular, Pitt senior point guard James Robinson slipped and cut his face.
I had never seen something like this happen, and I wondered if both teams would reconvene and play the second half at a different location.
It is a shame, as Pitt was one half away from a potentially huge NCAA Tournament resume booster, but player safety comes first. I’d rather have the game canceled than lose one or two players for a season due to an injury.
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Though players were visibly frustrated, both teams went into the crowd and spent time with the marines. Coaches Jamie Dixon and Mark Few spoke to the crowd, thanking them for the support and experience of a lifetime.
In the first half, Pitt played very well and showed some promise. The defense and rebounding looked strong, and Pitt was not afraid to drive the ball to the hoop.
For what it is worth, junior forward Michael Young scored 10 points and 4 rebounds, while Robinson scored 7 points and recorded 2 steals. Junior guard Chris Jones came off the bench and chipped in 8 points, while redshirt freshman Cameron Johnson scored 5 points. Sophomore center Ryan Luther hit a three-pointer with 5.4 seconds left in the first half to give Pitt a 37-35 lead going into the break.
The court was very slippery due to earlier rain showers and high humidity without air conditioning.
It was not discussed regarding movement of the game to another location, as the court and broadcast equipment would have to be moved.
Pitt will host Saint Joseph’s Indiana on Tuesday.
I suppose Pitt can count this one as a 1/2th win, a moral victory, in which the Panthers were able to hang with a Top 10 team that included one of the best frontcourts in the country.