No. 20 Pitt focuses on perimeter against Terrapins
Nineteen days ago, Pitt defeated Maryland, 79-59, in the first ACC game played at Petersen Events Center. From the outside, it appeared the Panthers barely broke a sweat in trouncing the Terrapins.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon knows otherwise.
Reinforcing his message from the first game, Dixon instructed his players this week to concentrate on stopping Maryland's 3-point shooters in Saturday's 6 p.m. rematch at Comcast Center.
Maryland forward Evan Smotrycz, in particular, concerns Dixon after the junior forward hit 4 of his 11 3-point attempts at Pitt.
Dixon, however, is confident the No. 20 Panthers (17-2, 5-1) will defend better in their second meeting against Maryland.
The Terrapins (11-8, 3-3) are among four teams Pitt will face twice in its inaugural ACC campaign, along with Syracuse (Feb. 12), N.C. State (March 3) and Clemson (March 8).
“Guarding the 3 is a main priority for us,” Dixon said. “(Maryland's) dangerous because of the way they shoot the ball. I think I said after the game about them shooting 3s, our guys being surprised by some of their bigger guys. Smotrycz shot a couple of 3s early.
“Our younger guys, we kept drilling them, talking, reinforcing they're going to shoot it from 3, they're going to shoot it from deep, guarded, unguarded. Hopefully, we're a better defensive team now than we were then.”
Sophomore guard James Robinson said Pitt's defense can improve the second time around against Maryland, which shot only 35 percent (20 of 56) in their first meeting, including 8 of 25 from 3-point range.
“I think we've gotten better since we played them,” said Robinson, who's second on the team in assists and third in steals. “We know their perimeter players can shoot the ball. Just be ready to defend.”
Robinson said the Panthers are prepared for Maryland's new starting lineup. Sophomore guard Seth Allen, who came off the bench in the first meeting, replaces freshman Roddy Peters.
“That's something we're going to have to make a little adjustment on,” Robinson said. “(Allen's) more in attack mode. He can score the ball, and he creates plays for others. Just try to keep him in front of us and play good help defense.”
Dixon is encouraged by the continued improvement of his defense, particularly how his younger players have caught on.
The quickest way to the bench in Dixon's system is a lack of attentiveness on defense.
“We have six new guys of the 10 that we're playing,” Dixon said. “Every game has to be a new lesson to us, win or lose.
“It was only four games ago that we played (Maryland), but it seems like they've gone through a lot of different things in that time. I think we've grown and, hopefully, understand.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib
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.
- Pitt football growing under Chryst
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Clemson’s Stoudt is one of the unheralded ACC QBs trying to break out