Lamar Patterson Comes Up Big Late As Pittsburgh Beats Miami

By Gregory Philson

Pittsburgh has had its problems on offense and swingman Lamar Patterson was the face of it as he struggled in the Panthers’ last two games. Well, at least for one night, Patterson found some of the offense he had earlier this season in a 59-55 overtime victory over Miami in Coral Gables on Wednesday.

Patterson drove for a tie-breaking layup late in regulation, knocked down an important three-pointer, punched in free throws and came up with a last-second steal during the extra session. Patterson also scored nine straight points for Pittsburgh during the last moments of the first half and in the beginning of the second half. He finished with 25 points on 6-of-14 shooting. However, the offense still struggled like it had in its losses this season and without Patterson’s late-game heroics, Pittsburgh could have suffered a third straight loss. The Panthers only shot 33 percent from the field against Miami.

This woeful offensive game was just more of the same for coach Jamie Dixon‘s Panthers, as the team lost two games last week shooting just 36.7 percent from the field and averaging only 55 points. Pittsburgh had been one of the steadiest offensive teams in the country for the entire non-conference season and the first part of the ACC season, with one exception in its loss to Cincinnati. The Panthers only scored 43 points on 31 percent shooting.

Obviously, any team will take a victory over anything else, but what is disconcerting about this recent stretch is how consistently inconsistent the Pittsburgh offense is. Duke was able to get after the Panthers with quick guards and great work on the boards. Virginia used its slow pace to frustrate the Panthers and Miami went to a zone. What comes down to all of this is if a team slows the pace, Pittsburgh becomes lost and forces bad shots. Those bad shots do not allow for offensive rebounding position and the Panthers are left with little chance to score. The Panthers try to speed up the game as much as they can, but it does not always work.

The Panthers cannot completely rely on Patterson to carry them in every single game. Despite the outcome Wednesday, the offense is still a work in progress.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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