Pitt men looking to shrug off recent shooting woes
As a former sharpshooting guard, Jamie Dixon had to be disappointed when he saw Pitt's shooting statistics in its Big East opener against Cincinnati.
Not only did the No. 24 Panthers produce their worst 3-point shooting showing in school history, but paired it with a poor performance at the free-throw line.
Pitt went 0 for 10 from beyond the arc and made 15 of 25 free throws in the 70-61 loss to the Bearcats on New Year's Eve.
“You've got to make some, and you can't get beat from the free-throw line and make no 3s,” Dixon said. “That's not a recipe for success.”
The Panthers (12-2, 0-1) are counting on their shots to fall and their percentages to rise when they embark on a two-game Big East road trip. They play at Rutgers at 11 a.m. Saturday and visit Georgetown on Tuesday.
The Pitt coaching staff charted every 3-point attempt and took some comfort in seeing the majority were open looks.
“Each of our attempts, they were good shots,” freshman point guard James Robinson said. “Unfortunately for us, they just didn't fall.”
Robinson said Pitt coaches didn't place more emphasis on 3-point shooting this week in practice despite the dreary rate.
“We didn't have one bad 3,” Dixon said. “We thought we took good shots. We're a pretty good 3-point shooting team. The percentage was pretty steady. We didn't make them, and you're not going to win many games when you don't make a 3.
“Just to test the theory, we did.”
Dixon isn't about to panic, considering Pitt converted at least seven 3-pointers in six of its first eight games this season. The Panthers made 8 of 20 against Michigan, 8 of 19 against Howard, 8 of 17 against Detroit and 9 of 17 against Duquesne.
They also know their most reliable 3-point shooter had an off day. Lamar Patterson was 0 for 5 against Cincinnati but had converted 42.9 percent (15 of 25) in the previous 10 games.
“The 3-point shot is not something you start worrying about after one game and 10 shots,” Dixon said. “Really, it was one guy that took half of them, and he's been shooting a good percentage. I don't think you change your whole thing on those five shots.”
More troubling is that it was combined with a sub-par shooting performance from the charity stripe. Where Patterson made all five attempts, forward Talib Zanna was 4 of 8, Robinson was 3 of 6 and guard Tray Woodall 3 of 5, missing the front end of a crucial one-and-one with Pitt trailing by three late in the game.
Dixon said the team's goal is 70 percent free-throw shooting, but the Panthers have made only 64.1 percent (50 of 78) in the past four games. It's no wonder Dixon said the Panthers spent time shooting extra free throws in practice the past two days.
A greater concern should be that Pitt has shot 19.5 percent from 3-point range in the past five games. It wasn't a worry when the Panthers were beating North Florida by 42, Bethune-Cookman by 59, Delaware State by 28 and Kennesaw State by 16.
But the loss to Cincinnati saw the Bearcats rally from an eight-point halftime lead despite making only 3 of 16 3-pointers.
“You don't point to zero 3s, but if you don't shoot it well, you have to find ways to win,” Dixon said. “Obviously, we didn't shoot it well so we have to guard better. I thought we did. ...
“Our mentality is always, we've got to be able to find ways to win games when we don't shoot it well. Cincinnati did because they didn't shoot it well from 3.”
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.
- No. 11 Purdue presents tall order for Pitt
- Pitt notebook: Boyd undecided about leaving early for NFL
- Pitt’s Young taking a pass, improving his all-around game
- District college notebook: Pair of Pitt wrestlers win titles at Keystone Classic
- Pitt notebook: Offensive struggles continue
- Pitt players praise Narduzzi’s coaching style
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers