ShareThis Page

Senior Woodall provides emotional boost for Pitt

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 11:16 p.m.
Pittsburgh guard Tray Woodall (1) works to control the ball next to Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, in Washington. Pittsburgh won 73-45. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Pittsburgh guard Tray Woodall (1) works to control the ball next to Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, in Washington. Pittsburgh won 73-45. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Tray Woodall didn't just take the blame for Pitt's loss to Rutgers. The Pitt point guard took it to heart, as a reflection of his leadership.

Then, the fifth-year senior took it to Georgetown, serving as the catalyst in the Panthers handing the Hoyas their worst Big East defeat in school history.

“I tried to play with a lot more emotion because it's emotional,” Woodall said after the 73-45 victory Tuesday night at Verizon Center in Washington.

“This is my last year. It's my team. I'm a senior on the team, me and Dante (Taylor). There's more pressure on me. I want it. I embrace it. I started putting more pressure on the ball, making sure I get guys into their sets and making sure everybody is where they're supposed to be.”

Woodall's final statistics were almost identical in those two Big East contests, even though the outcomes were drastically different.

Woodall owned up for launching nine 3-pointers (and making only three) in the 67-62 loss at Rutgers on Saturday. He scored the same amount of points, 11, against Georgetown but not at the expense of his teammates.

“It was definitely a conscious effort,” Woodall said. “Like I said before (at Rutgers), it was fool's gold that we were taking the shots that we thought were open.

“We wanted to make sure we played aggressive and could get to the basket. We have a lot of slashers on this team. We're creative. We're not just out there set as 3-point shooters. We wanted to make sure we got out there and created for others.

“By us creating for others, it opened up lanes to the basket. We've got big guys in there who can score, so we definitely wanted to get those guys touches.”

Woodall did just that, whether it was tossing alley-oops to center Steven Adams or bounce passes into the paint to power forward Talib Zanna.

It wasn't lost on Georgetown coach John Thompson III that all 10 Pitt players scored at least four points, and he credited Woodall for the even distribution.

“Woodall was terrific, there's no doubt about it,” Thompson said. “He had the ball in his hands, and he was very good. He makes them go, and he made them go.”

Woodall showed signs of toughness when he returned for the second half after taking an elbow in the throat from Georgetown center Jabril Trawick.

Jamie Dixon was pleased with how Woodall worked to improve his defense, long a point of contention for the Pitt coach. Woodall helped hold Georgetown's Markel Starks to six points, with no assists and four turnovers.

“It was something we talked about,” Dixon said. “The aggressiveness we had out front was key, and I think that came from him and from James (Robinson) but specifically from him. We've challenged him to become something that he hasn't done defensively for us, to try to improve and get better in his senior year. He responded in a big way.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.