One week ago Pittsburgh was pumped up and rocking in the Petersen Events Center as fans and the Panthers were ready to host Duke. The game got out-of-hand in the second half and the Panthers lost while looking disoriented, especially star Lamar Patterson.
Patterson — who was the front-runner for ACC Player of the Year before Duke — went off of his normal game against the Blue Devils. He stopped driving to the basket, settled for contested jumpers and did not play his typical strong defense. It felt like it was going to be a one-time aberration and Patterson would come out strong against Virginia this past weekend.
Unfortunately for Patterson and Pitt, he got worse. Patterson only made three field goals, scored just 10 points and could not get into any flow against the Cavaliers’ defense. Virginia slowed the pace way down and Patterson suffered. Pittsburgh lost its fourth game of the season, and the main trend in all four defeats has been a struggling Patterson. The swingman missed key jumpers against Cincinnati and Syracuse and could not find his game at all against Duke and Virginia. He has shot just 31 percent in the losses. It’s disappointing because Patterson is a talented all-around player, but his level of play definitely comes up short against the better teams.
Miami and Virginia Tech will give Pitt a little bit of a break from the murderers’ row type of schedule it had been playing, and maybe Patterson will find his form. Patterson is the key to how successful Pitt will be this year. If he continues to slump against the better teams, Pitt will fall early in March.
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