Following an eight-game losing streak, Pitt answered with a 86-74 win over Providence on Wednesday night at the Petersen Events Center. They faced a much tougher test as the No.10 team in the country, Georgetown, paid a visit to the Petersen Events Center on Saturday. Despite facing a tougher challenge in the Hoyas, the Panthers prevailed 72-60. It marked the 12th victory for Pitt over a Top-10 team at the Petersen Events Center.
The Panthers didn't have a decided edge in rebounds, didn't produce too few turnovers, nor did they have the efficient three-point shooting performance they had Wednesday. Saturday against Georgetown was all about good shots and other decisions on offense, followed by a stifling effort on defense. At one point of the first half, Georgetown's starting lineup was 1-of-8 from the field. That set the tone for the day.
"(Pitt) played well," Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said. "In (scoring and rebounding), we were awful. (Pitt) got everything they wanted, and when they didn't, they still got it."
"I thought our guys were tremendous all the way through the game," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "I really liked how we played basketball, how we defended. We were unselfish, moved the ball. Travon (Woodall) out there allows us to do that."
The efficiency of Pitt's offensive performance came in the form of Lamar Patterson and Nasir Robinson—who arguably had the fines games of their Pitt careers. Robinson finished with 23 points on a perfect 9-of-9 performance from the field, while Patterson added in 18. Robinson was two consecutive field goals away from trying Brian Shorter's school record performance of 11-of-11 against Providence on February 11, 1990. Patterson took a drive to the rim almost every time. Georgetown did nothing to adjust to it all afternoon.
"It was the dump off layups he got, that's how he needs to play," Dixon added. "He hurt them in the right spot."
Aside from the production of Patterson and Robinson, Pitt converted 13-of-27 shots (48.1 %) in the first half and 12-of-21 shots (57.1 %) in the second half, good enough for a 52.1 % performance for the game.
Pitt got a three-pointer to start from Lamar Patterson, as they cruised to a 33-22 lead at the half. Whether it was the crowd, Pitt clicking on offense, Pitt's ability to force turnovers—Georgetown was humbled in the first half, scoring just 22 points. Georgetown got a couple of three's late in the first half, but still, Pitt was able to build a 33-22 lead at halftime.
The Hoyas came out swinging in the second half, cutting the Pitt lead to 37-31 on a 9-4 run to start the half. Dixon was forced to call a full timeout. Pitt answered with a long possession—something that Georgetown tried to do that played into Pitt's favor the whole game. The Panthers got a jumper from Ashton Gibbs, giving them a 39-31 lead.
Though the Hoyas brought the deficit to six points three times in the second half, they could not get any closer. Furthermore, Pitt led the entire game. Henry Sims kept Georgetown in it, adding a layup to make it a 45-38 game. John Johnson three-pointer brought the lead back up to 10 at 48-38.
After Gibbs wash called for an intentional foul at the 11:45 mark of the second half, the Hoyas converted the foul shots, making it a 48-40 game. Georgetown scored again on layup by Sims, making it a 48-42 game. Patterson answered once more, taking another drive to the hole and finishing with what looked like an easy layup. Patterson had these types of chances all game, and he took advantage of it. According to him, it was just about taking what the defense was giving him.
"That's exactly what it was," Patterson said. "I see my opportunity, and just go with it; just run with it."
Thompson added that Patterson's performance was good, but he actually credited Jason Clark's defensive performance on Ashton Gibbs for allowing Patterson to have the game he had.
"I wouldn't say (Patterson) caught us off guard," Thompson added. "I thought Jason chased Gibbs around pretty effectively most of the night. He's such a good scorer. Then, they have other guys step up. I wouldn't say caught us off guard, but he stepped it up today."
As the Panthers headed towards the stretch, they slowed down the game—trying to play to Georgetown's style—but also outdoing them; holding for the shot as the shot clock were to expire. Under the five-minute mark, they got a couple of key shots to extend the lead, but also take a little wind out of the Hoyas' sail. Patterson converted a three-point play—taking another drive to the net, finishing with a dunk then getting fouled and converting the free throw. That made it 53-44 Pitt. Dante Taylor—in foul trouble for much of the game—added a dunk, sandwiched by a pair of layups from Robinson. Pitt led 59-49. However, when Gibbs hit another short jumper, putting Pitt up 61-49, you could see the frustrated looks on the faces of Georgetown head coach John Thompson III, as well as his players, knowing this one was over at that point.
"We focus our game on defense, making them take tough shots throughout the game," Gibbs added. "While we won the game, their top two players (Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson) didn't have the best games of their lives."
Georgetown got off to a bad start, just shooting 9-of-27 (33.3%) in the first half, and improved a little in the second half shooting 50%. Still, they dug themselves too deep of a hole offensively in the first half, then didn't do enough defensively throughout the game.
"You can probably lump together everything from the defensive end, how it happened; lack of communication, effort," Thompson added. "We knew what they were looking for. We'll take care of it in practice."