Michigan scratches its way past Pitt at MSG
NEW YORK — There is no shame in losing to the No. 4 team in the country, but Pitt didn't like the way it happened.
Michigan simply pushed Pitt around under the basket in the second half, pulling away after the Panthers had led most of the night for a 67-62 victory.
"We feel like we let one get away," Pitt freshman point guard James Robinson. "We didn't rebound well enough and let them score too much in transition."
Michigan got the better of Pitt on the boards by a 37-26 margin. In the second half, Pitt was outrebounded, 18-5.
"That's something that doesn't happen," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "But it did. The rebounding really sticks out in this game."
Freshman Steven Adams endured a game to forget, failing to score a point while consistently being pushed around by the Michigan frontcourt.
"Everybody knows he's got to stay out of foul trouble," Dixon said. "That's what's hurt him the last two games. He'll be fine."
Lamar Patterson was a bright spot for Pitt, scoring a team-high 14 points after struggling with his shot early in the season.
"I would have preferred to miss 20 shots in a row and get the win," Patterson said. "We did a lot of things well but just didn't finish. This is a learning experience for us. This will make us better."
The first half produced a flashback to the early years of the Dixon era.
Pitt played tenacious defense — it was plenty physical, too, as the Panthers were called for 10 of the half's 14 fouls — and executed almost flawlessly on offense, consistently running the shot clock under 10 seconds before earning quality shots.
"We knew this wasn't going to be easy," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "And it wasn't. They played such good defense and did so many things well."
The Panthers, in fact, led by eight in the final minute before a foul on freshman point guard James Robinson and a J.J. Moore turnover led to four late Michigan points.
Still, the first half went well for Pitt. The Panthers controlled the tempo throughout, rarely letting Michigan's talented guards run in the open court.
"We knew they were a really good team and they showed it early on," Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr., said. "We had to turn it on in the second half. It wasn't easy."
Pitt's bench, such a factor in its first four games of the season, was again a force. Led by Dante Taylor and J.J. Moore, Pitt's reserves scored 17 of its first 27 points.
The second half saw Michigan attempt to hurry the pace, with star point guard Trey Burke finally finding some rhythm after a shaky first half. Also, Michigan went to a high-pressure zone that gave Pitt fits.
Michigan closed the Pitt lead to one with 14 minutes left, but a Moore 3-pointer put Pitt ahead by four.Still, the Wolverines weren't going away.
Two big shots from Glenn Robinson III again pulled Michigan within a bucket, as the second half reached its midway point.
Hardaway Jr. would later score on a driving layup with 9:20 remaining, pulling Michigan even at 44-44, and then gave the Wolverines the lead at the free throw line 56 seconds later.
When the Michigan 9-0 run was over, it had taken a 48-44 lead with 7:03 left, forcing Dixon to take a timeout.
"We just made some mistakes that were too much to come back from," Patterson said.
At one point, Hardaway Jr. and Robinson III scored 20 straight Michigan points, as the Wolverines extended their lead to nine.
However, Pitt made a late surge and Tray Woodall, quiet most of the night, drilled a 3-pointer with 30.6 seconds left to pull Pitt within three.
Robinson III hit two free throws to put Michigan ahead again by five, but James Robinson scored on three consecutive drives to pull Pitt within three in the final seconds. Michigan, though, never gave Pitt a chance to even the game.
Pitt will play Delaware at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
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.
- Dixon, Pitt men’s basketball team aren’t planning island vacation
- Former Shady Side Academy standout set to take field for Pitt
- With 4 starters back, Pitt’s offensive front looking for a rebound
- Pitt safety Vinopal hopes extra conditioning pays off
- Pitt football growing under Chryst