Panther insider: Passing, plays excel in late shot-clock situations
Lamar Patterson lofted a fadeaway 3-pointer from the left wing at the final second against Clemson.
When it swished through the net as the shot clock sounded its alarm, Pitt assistant coach Brandin Knight knew it was a “heartbreaker.”
“That's a crushing blow to a defense,” he told TribLIVE Radio, “when you've guarded that well and somebody makes a tough shot.”
Clemson coach Brad Brownell dwelled on Pitt's proficiency at sinking shots late in the shot clock after the Panthers' 76-43 victory Tuesday, calling them a “terrific passing team” after they assisted on 24 of 27 field goals.
“They make plays kind of out of nowhere,” Brownell said. “You guard them for 25 seconds and, at the end of a shot clock, somebody will make a great read on a pass and they'll be laying it in.”
It's not by accident.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon knew his Panthers needed to practice patience running its offense after watching them go through sets only to see 20 seconds left on the clock.
After the 45-44 loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 17 in the Jimmy V Classic, they worked on running the offense more deliberately against no defenders while working the shot clock down to its final ticks.
The more they worked the ball around, the harder they forced opponents to play defense. That ultimately led to easier shots.
“We felt maybe we took too many quick shots early in the year,” Dixon said. “Patience is a big part of it. A lot of guys who can make plays and passes are a big part of that.”
It helps to have “elite passers,” as Brownell called senior swingman Patterson and sophomore point guard James Robinson.
“We have a very unselfish team,” Robinson said. “When somebody gives their shot up to make a play for somebody else, it usually comes back around.”
Just as Pitt believes there is a correlation from defense to offense, the Panthers know that taking their time to work the clock can force opponents to respond by rushing their shots to recover from a deficit.
“As patient as we were, we still scored 76 points; and as patient as they were, it made them use clock,” Dixon said. “You need to be patient, but you also need to get transition baskets. We're a team that obviously runs and scores a lot of points, but you have to be able to wear them down. We're better with our sets. We know now what we want to do at the end of the clock.”
What opponents haven't figured out is which player to stop late in the shot clock, in part because Pitt has more than one option.
“I think that separates teams sometimes,” Brownell said, “when you have multiple guys.”
Especially when they make them.
Q&A WITH CAMERON WRIGHT
Did you have a chip on your shoulders against Clemson after the loss at Syracuse, feeling like you had something to prove?
Not necessarily something to prove. We know how good we are. We know how good we can be. We definitely felt like we should have won that game, but we were happy to come back home and be on our home floor and we wanted to play in front of our home crowd and get it done for the Zoo.
What prevented you from having a letdown?
We can't let one loss turn into another back-to-back. We don't like losing. Obviously, no team likes losing, but we don't lose games at home. That's what we really emphasized today. An opposing team comes on our home floor and we get it done.
You guys are 17-2...
Really? I didn't know that. I just know we lost twice.
How good can this team be?
We can be as good as we want. The only team in our way is ourselves. It will be fun to watch.
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.