The Pittsburgh Panthers avoided disaster by picking up what could turn out to be the team’s biggest conference victory of the season.
Pittsburgh struggled to begin their league schedule losing their first two Big East games and instantly reminding fans of the team’s 0-7 start to conference play a year ago.
Panthers fans can breathe a sigh of relief after Pittsburgh defeated the #19 Georgetown Hoyas on the road. Pittsburgh’s victory handed the Hoyas their first home loss of the season and proved to their conference opposition the Panthers will be dangerous despite the slow start.
Pittsburgh looked like a different team compared to the one that started 0-2. After being outrebounded in their two previous outings, the Panthers finally out-rebounded a conference opponent as the team’s defense shined in the win. They held Georgetown to only 36.1% from the field as no Hoyas managed to break the double-figure scoring mark. A big difference compared to the 51.2% the Rutgers Scarlet Knights shot against the Panthers three days ago, led by Eli Carter’s 23 points.
The Panthers defense wasn’t the only impressive part of the team’s game as the offense was on fire compared to their previous two contests. Pittsburgh struggled to find any rhythm offensively in their two losses shooting 44.2% followed by 37.5%. Against Georgetown the Panthers shot 55.1% from the field after being led by Talib Zanna and Tray Woodall.
The team’s leading scorer Zanna, finished with 15 points, four rebounds and shot 7 for 9 from the field. The junior failed to score in double-figures for the first time in six games against Rutgers as Pittsburgh needs to make a better effort to get the 6-foot-9 forward involved offensively. He entered the game against the Hoyas averaging 61.9% from the field along with a baffling 7.9 attempts per game. Less than eight attempts to per contest for a player shooting 62% from the floor is puzzling at best.
Woodall, the team’s leader in assists, finished with 11 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals. The senior will need to be the player that makes a consistent effort to feed Zanna the ball as he’s a talented playmaker who doesn’t turn over the ball. In the first three conferences games he’s recorded 18 assists and only two turnovers.
Pittsburgh showed their defensive strength while also displaying the force they can be once their offense finds its rhythm. The Panthers defense will keep them hanging around in any game but it’ll be the team’s effectiveness on offense that’ll determine how well they do in conference action.