Pitt notebook: Panthers reach 20-win mark for 12th year in row
CINCINNATI – Pitt hit a magic number with its 62-52 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday night, although it's one Panthers fans have come to take for granted.
The victory was No. 20 for Pitt this season, marking the 12th consecutive year and 20th time in school history the Panthers have reached the win total. The 20-win streak comes with a regular-season asterisk: Pitt went 16-15 last year before winning one game in the Big East Tournament and five in the College Basketball Invitational.
“It's good to have, but that's definitely not what our goal is,” point guard Tray Woodall said. “We've still got a lot more to prove. A lot of people were saying we can't hang with the boys or the top-tier teams in the Big East.
“Clearly, they don't know what they're talking about.”
Big game for big man
Freshman center Steven Adams was scoreless in 24 minutes against Cincinnati in the Big East opener, mostly because of foul trouble. This time, he had 13 points, two rebounds and four blocked shots in 29 minutes.
And his biggest play might have been an assist.
Cincinnati cut it to 54-51 when Adams dished a backhanded bounce pass to power forward Talib Zanna for a thunderous dunk with 1:35 left.
“In the huddle, (Adams) was saying that they were going to double-team him, so we told him to make sure to be patient and not think too far ahead,” Woodall said. “He was patient enough and dropped off a beautiful pass.”
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was furious about the defensive breakdown
“It's inexcusable, just inexcusable,” he said. “It's against a zone. A guy got a dunk against our zone. Our rule is the five man never leaves the rim when we are playing a zone.”
“Plays like that are game changers. My teammates expect things like that from me, whether it's a big rebound or a play that shows just how much I want it. It's just contagious,” Lamar Patterson said of his driving dunk late in the second half.