Pitt Vs. Marquette: Panthers Play Better, But Can't Close Out Golden Eagles; Lose 62-57

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Pitt Vs. Marquette: Panthers Drop Close Game, 62-57

Pitt showed signs of life, but didn’t have quite enough to defeat Marquette on the road today, losing 62-57. The Panthers held a five-point lead at the half, but Marquette came back to win, keeping Pitt winless in Big East play.

Ashton Gibbs had perhaps his best game of the season, though, and that’s encouraging. Behind 8-16 shooting, Gibbs had 29 points and ensured Pitt would remain competitive until the very end as he scored several points late in the game. He scored the Panthers’ final eight points and was the only Pitt player to score in the final four minutes of the game.

The big problem for Pitt was that several players did far too little with significant minutes. Talib Zanna got another start and played 29 minutes, but only ended with two points and five rebounds. Isaiah Epps got the start at the point and while that helped free Gibbs up, Epps finished scoreless and with only two assists in 26 minutes of action. John Johnson also got 17 minutes off the bench, but scored only one basket. Quite simply, Pitt’s got to get more production from guys eating up that many minutes.

If you’re a Pitt fan, you should be encouraged. But the fact is that the team is still winless in conference play and looking like a long-shot to make the NCAAs. The Panthers’ difficult schedule continues with a road trip against No. 1 Syracuse on Monday.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill
.

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Pitt Vs. Marquette Score: Panthers Do 180, Up 29-24 At Half

Pitt still isn’t scoring a whole lot, but the difference between this game and the Rutgers game is night and day.

The Panthers lead ranked Marquette on the road 29-24. The difference so far is Ashton Gibbs. After struggling mightily against the Scarlet Knights with only eight points, Gibbs already has 14 in today’s contest on 4-of-6 shooting. He’s also 3-of-4 from three-point range and in the process, also broke Pitt’s record for career three-pointers made.

Head coach Jamie Dixon made a key move in starting freshman Isaiah Epps at point guard. Epps hasn’t been great, but he’s allowed Gibbs to move back to shooting guard and focus more on scoring. If this continues to pay off is anybody’s guess, but one thing’s for certain – Gibbs looks much more comfortable.

One area of concern is the bench where Pitt has only four points (all from J.J. Moore). Dante Taylor was in foul trouble, though, and he along with freshman John Johnson can hopefully contribute a bit more.

For more on the game and Panthers basketball, check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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