Pitt notebook: Panthers bid farewell to star seniors Patterson, Zanna
ORLANDO, Fla. — The two fifth-year seniors had carried Pitt all season, through last-second letdowns, overtime victories and an assortment of injuries to what would have been the biggest win in school history.
Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna were at a loss for words after the Panthers' season and their college careers came to an end in a 61-45 loss to top-ranked Florida on Saturday in a South Region third-round game at Amway Center.
“Our career, it was long,” Patterson said, “but now that it's over I felt like it wasn't long enough.”
Patterson scored eight points on 3 for 11 shooting — 1 of 7 from 3-point range — and had a team-high eight rebounds with four assists and a steal. Zanna finished with a team-high 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting with six rebounds and shot 78.6 percent (11-14) in two NCAA tourney games.
“I'm definitely going to miss LP and Talib,” redshirt junior guard Cameron Wright said, “and what they've done for this program.”
Added sophomore point guard James Robinson: “Our seniors, they meant everything to us. We're really going to miss those guys.”
The 6-foot-5 Patterson overcame thumb and knee injuries to average team highs of 17.1 points and 8.6 assists, while the 6-9 Zanna switched from power forward to center and averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 8.6 rebounds.
Patterson, who set a school record for games played (148), is one of three players in school history to score 1,000 points (1,410), grab 500 rebounds (588) and dish 400 assists (427). Zanna finished with 1,117 points and 808 rebounds, which ranks ninth.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was effusive in his praise of Patterson and Zanna.
“You hope a guy gets better each year. They did. You hope they graduate. They did. You hope they play in a lot of games and win a lot of games. They did. You hope that they represent your university in a positive manner,” Dixon said.
“We performed poorly but, at the end of the day, you've got kids who represented your university. There was a lot of wins and losses — a lot less losses — from those guys. They've done a lot of things right for our university, and I think people recognize them as student-athletes.”
Two high-profile NFL coaches were at Amway Center supporting their favorite college basketball teams by wearing school colors.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin sat in the stands with his two sons wearing a Pitt shirt, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick sported a Gators visor.
Billy Donovan said he has “developed a very, very good relationship” with Belichick, dating to a visit to Boston years back, and attended as a guest of the Florida coach.
“He was in Gainesville, I guess it may have been a pro day or watching practice, and he called me and said he wanted to come down for the game,” Donovan said. “It's interesting you get a chance to talk to a guy like that, most of the stuff that we're talking about is the whole coaching perspective of just dealing with people and motivating people and inspiring people and different things.”
By the numbers
Pitt is now 24-26 in the NCAA Tournament, 12-10 under Jamie Dixon. … The Panthers are now 2-16 all-time against No. 1 teams, with losses this season to Syracuse and Florida. … It was the fourth time Pitt was held to fewer than 50 points — Cincinnati (44-43) on Dec. 17 and Virginia (48-45 on Feb. 2 and 51-48 on March 15) — and the fifth time the Panthers scored fewer than 25 in the first half. … Florida held an opponent to 50 points or less for the fifth time in its past three NCAA Tournaments. … Florida tied a season low with six turnovers.
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.
- House has Pitt defense trending in right direction
- 3 Pitt football recruits plan to enroll early
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Pitt notebook: Chryst didn’t lobby to keep Watt at tight end
- Discipline Pitt’s only option against Georgia Tech
- Pitt notebook: Zone-read plays suit Voytik’s strengths
- Notre Dame leads powerhouses in ACC; Pitt women picked 14th
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era
- Pitt bounces back with win over Virginia Tech