Pitt shook off yet another slow start (if you think this is becoming a trend, you’re absolutely right) to win on Wednesday night against South Florida, 66-50. We’ve seen this story far too often, but at least it resulted in a win, so it’s hard to complain too much.
The Panthers scored only 23 points in the first half of this game, but rebounded to add 43 in the second for a comfortable victory.
This may have been one of the rare times when it can be said that all five starters played well for Pitt. Nasir Robinson led the way with a double double (18 points/10 rebounds) and Ashton Gibbs chipped in 16. Gilbert Brown and Gary McGhee were both nearly perfect from the field, combining for 19 points on 9-11 shooting. And while Brad Wanamaker was only 2-8, he did finish with seven points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Once again, the bench production (or, actually, the lack of) stuck out like a sore thumb. Pitt’s reserves only contributed six points and that’s becoming an area of concern. It’s true that depth goes beyond scoring and the bench did rebound well on Wednesday. But at some point, there’s going to be a good chance the Panthers are in an offensive struggle and will need a spark from the reserves. They need to be ready to contribute when called upon.
Of greater concern, though, are the slow starts. I mentioned this a bit more in depth over at Cardiac Hill, in the post-game recap there. But, essentially, Pitt can’t afford to continue to play a bad half of basketball before deciding to wake up. Eventually it will cost them and it could be the same old sad story.
With one regular season game remaining, Pitt looks to be in good shape to secure a No. 1 seed. If Pitt can beat Villanova on Saturday, I believe they’re all but assured of one of the four top seeds regardless of what they do in the Big East tournament.