Panthers' big men struggling against zone defenses
More than a quarter into the season, Pitt still is trying to figure out freshman Steven Adams, just as the 7-foot center is trying to figure out the game at the major college level.
Adams, one of the most highly touted recruits of the Jamie Dixon era, is averaging 6.0 points per game through eight contests, and the New Zealand native has spent as much time sitting on the bench as he has patrolling the paint for the Panthers (7-1).
Adams has scored in double-figures just twice, and he was a nonfactor in Pitt's 74-61 win Saturday night against Detroit.
Adams played just eight minutes and scored two points. Pitt was most effective when it went with a smaller lineup against the Titans, who built a 13-point, first-half lead before fading.
Adams has struggled to get touches, as teams have packed in their defense and played zone.
“Steve is still trying to get used to that,” Dixon said. “It's pretty normal for a freshman to struggle in those situations. He's getting used to it and working hard.”
Pitt figures to see its share of zone Wednesday when it plays Duquesne at Consol Energy Center.
The Dukes, as Detroit and Howard did against Pitt last week, could play primarily zone to offset the Panthers' size advantage.
Pitt has looked tentative at times against the zone, and it didn't solve Detroit's 2-3 defense until the second half. Adams and senior Dante Taylor played just 25 minutes combined and accounted for two points and four rebounds against the Titans.
“Our big guys are struggling right now against the zone,” Dixon said. “I've got to do a better job coaching it and getting them in the right place and understanding what we're trying to do. That's something that I know and am well aware of.”
Pitt is running out of time to get Adams, who is playing less than 20 minutes per game, comfortable.
The Panthers have five more nonconference games before entering Big East play.
Pitt's perimeter players also could play better against the zone. Senior guard Tray Woodall was the only one who played aggressively against it in the first half Saturday. His three 3-pointers helped keep Pitt in the game and allowed the Panthers to overwhelm Detroit in the second half.
“I think we definitely could attack the zone a lot better, but that's definitely getting us prepared for the teams ahead,” Woodall said. “There's going to be a lot of other teams that show the 2-3.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo gallery: Walk The Moon Gospel Tour at Stage AE
- Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble closes season with dramatic revival
- Wiz Khalifa gets fans fired up for new album in First Niagara show
- Inside the Ropes: Indy wrestling Q&A
- Doppelheuer chosen to lead Belle Vernon wrestling
- Steelers’ Blake prefers secondary job
- All in favor of sewage accord between Allegheny Valley authority, regulators
- Police supporters meeting in Ford City
- Pirates notebook: Cole scratched from rehab start at Indianapolis
- Fort Armstrong fest in full swing in Kittanning
- McKeesport police recover guns, ammunition and bayonet