ACC Basketball: Pitt Panthers' Balance Leads Way Over Notre Dame Fighting Irish

By Gregory Philson
Pittsburgh Panthers
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers finally got a solid offensive performance from more than just one or two players in the 85-81 overtime victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Saturday.

Lamar Patterson led the way with 20 points, but he was not alone in putting numbers up in the stat book. Talib Zanna backed up his terrific game against Boston College earlier this week with a 17-point, 11-rebound effort against Notre Dame. Not to be outdone were Cameron Wright (15 points) and Michael Young (13 points). It cannot be expected that these kind of games will happen all the time for coach Jamie Dixon‘s team, but it did show what the Panthers are capable of doing.

Pittsburgh has had many problems on offense in the last month. Until the victory over Notre Dame, the Panthers had not reached 80 points since defeating the Maryland Terrapins, 83-79, Jan. 29. The 85-point game against Notre Dame definitely came out of nowhere. It did not seem with the way both teams have been playing on offense that this kind of game would happen. This is another positive for Pitt faithful. The Panthers went a long time without a high-scoring game, but when it was needed, they were up to the challenge. While the Panthers only scored 65 points in regulation, they did score 20 points in the extra session and that could be a sign the offense found its way.

The Panthers now have just two games remaining in the regular season to build on its NCAA tournament resume. North Carolina State generally plays up to better teams and could give Pittsburgh a battle. T.J. Warren can explode on any given night and another 75-point-plus scoring game could be on the horizon. Pittsburgh wraps up the season against the Clemson Tigers‘ aggressive defense. That game will be a great indicator of exactly where the offense is at before the ACC tournament.

There is no way to tell if Saturday’s game will carry over, but having two more games to work on the offense, there is reason to believe the Pittsburgh Panthers may still be a threat when the brackets are released.

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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