Pitt senior guard Gibbs takes blame for lackluster season
Senior guard Ashton Gibbs sat at his locker at Madison Square Garden and shouldered the blame for the Panthers' disappointing season.
"I did a bad job of leading this year," he said, "and it clearly showed."
Pitt dropped to 17-16 with the 64-52 loss to Georgetown on Wednesday in the second round of the Big East Tournament. Gibbs said it was difficult to grasp the finality of Pitt's 10-year streak of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
"I wouldn't have bet in a million years that we wouldn't make the NCAA Tournament at the beginning of the season," he said. "I've never been in a situation like this. ... The only thing you can do is learn from it, and I'm definitely going to take this with me the rest of my life."
There were many factors to the poor season, but Gibbs, the Big East preseason Player of the Year, said he didn't do enough.
"I had high expectations of the team and high expectations of myself as well," he said, "and it's something I didn't live up to as a senior leader."
> > Pitt sophomore forward Lamar Patterson practically spit out the words.
"We played like a bunch of little boys out there," he said.
Pitt was outrebounded by Georgetown, 36-25, getting pushed around all game.
The Panthers, who were fifth in the nation in rebounding margin, had three offensive boards in the final 24 minutes of action. Patterson, who had nine points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals, was disgusted in the post-game locker room.
"They beat us double-figures on the rebounds," he said, "and that's something we've never, ever, ever accept on this team."
> > West Virginia coach Bob Huggins reflected on his fondness of the Big East, as the Mountaineers move to the Big 12. WVU's 71-67 overtime loss to Connecticut was the school's final game in the Big East Tournament.
"It's been a good run," he said. "We've enjoyed it, most of it anyway. I mean, there's nothing like coming to the Garden to play in the tournament."
> > Late turnovers cost West Virginia. The Mountaineers led 63-54 on Truck Bryant's layup with 3:58 to play, but Connecticut went on a 9-0 run fueled by back-to-back steals and buckets by Shabazz Napier to tie the score with 2:08 to play.
"Just a little bit of disbelief, disappointment," WVU forward Kevin Jones said. "We didn't hold onto the ball. They (Connecticut) stole it. Two turnovers for layups that they really didn't earn. ... We let people take the ball from us, and it's kind of a matter of getting out-toughed in the last five minutes."
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