Dixon says slumping Pitt struggling with patience, shot selection on offense
After another single-digit ACC loss — one that wasn't settled until the final seconds — Pitt's season is starting to sound like the same old song.
The difference is that coach Jamie Dixon has changed his refrain — focusing on defense and rebounding — and his Panthers are singing the same chorus. It symbolizes how out of sync they are after their third consecutive loss and fifth in seven games.
“We need to get it right, get better at executing offensively,” Dixon said after Pitt's 71-66 loss to Florida State on Sunday. “I think that's affecting a lot of what we're doing. Impatience is a big part of our issue offensively right now, something we have been stressing and talking about.”
After a 16-1 start, the Panthers are 20-7 and 8-6 in the ACC and suddenly slipping from an NCAA Tournament sure thing to a bubble team entering Wednesday's game at Boston College (7-20, 3-11).
Pitt's offense largely is to blame, as the Panthers' shooting has slipped from 50.4 percent in the first seven ACC games (of which it won six) to 37 percent in the past seven (of which it won two).
“We need to execute better on offense,” Pitt redshirt junior guard Cameron Wright said. “The game is pretty simple, but I think we're making it difficult on ourselves and taking tougher shots.”
Despite regularly running offensive sets until the shot clock runs down to its final seconds, Dixon said, the Panthers aren't practicing patience.
One problem is that Pitt is settling more often for low-percentage shots. The Panthers launched 109 3-pointers in the past seven games, compared to 77 in the previous seven.
That's in part out of necessity, as they are not getting enough production from their post players. Against Florida State, Talib Zanna and Mike Young combined to shoot 1 for 8 from the field, scoring 10 of their 12 combined points from the foul line.
“We have to find a way to execute and take good shots every single time,” Dixon said. “You go through challenges. It's how you respond to them. Shot selection is the key.
“We're taking a guarded shot when we need to take an unguarded shot. I guess that's a simple way of putting it. But there's an execution part, as well.”
Dixon said the offensive execution depends on ball movement and screens, and that the Panthers can't continue to allow “a bad possession followed by another bad possession.”
What had Dixon down after the Florida State game is that the Panthers were coming off an eight-day layoff, during which they addressed offensive issues in practice.
“We're just not moving the ball like we're known for, like we have done,” Dixon said. “You can lose it for periods of time, but I think we've lost it for a stretch here. I felt we got it back in practice, we emphasized it, but we're just not executing. We're not executing our sets, and we're letting things wear on us.
“We need to play through missed shots. We're letting a missed shot affect us two plays later. That's something we're trying to address, trying to get across. We've got work to do.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_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 notebook: O-line coach still uncertain who will start at center vs. Iowa
- Pitt’s secondary has room for improvement
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Pitt rallies to defeat Florida International, stay undefeated
- Pitt football notebook: Chryst still seeking improvements in running game
- Pitt notebook: Backup Anderson spells Voytik for series
- Lightning interrupts Pitt-Florida International game