Dixon wins No. 300 with defense, rebounding

The Pittsburgh Panthers outrebounded the Florida State Seminoles, held them to 32 percent shooting in the second half and controlled the game down the stretch as head coach Jamie Dixon won his 300th career game.

If observers--casual or conscientious--of Pitt basketball haven’t learned by now, Jamie Dixon likes to win basketball games in a particular way: holding opponents below 40 percent shooting and outrebounding the opposition, ideally by 10 or more.

As they’ve done many times before under Dixon, the Panthers (12-5, 2-2 ACC) won both battles in a 73-64 victory over Florida State Wednesday night and Dixon won for the 300th time as a head coach.

“I’m very fortunate to be at a great place, a great university and work with great people,” Dixon said. “That’s been 16 years of that, so that’s pretty good. That’s not often the case in college coaching.”

After hitting on 55 percent of field goal attempts, the Seminoles (9-8, 1-3) shot just 32 percent in the second half and were outrebounded 39-31.

“The great thing is we got it done with the rebounding,” Dixon said. “Obviously that was our emphasis these last couple days. We paid the price in practice and won that battle against a good rebounding team.”

Pitt’s performance on the glass followed a minus-17 rebounding margin suffered against Clemson Saturday, the worst deficit in Dixon’s tenure. Against a team featuring one 7-footer on the floor at all times, Pitt played the kind of physical, interior basketball that led to many of Dixon’s wins.

Mike Young posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds (eight offensive) after a performance against Clemson he called an “embarrassment” and took it upon himself to right it.

“I just took it all on me,” Young said. “I just felt like I didn’t do enough, I didn’t come out ready to play and I didn’t rebound.”

Young and the rest of the Panthers came out ready after two difficult practices in which rebounding was the emphasis, and Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton could tell Pitt was on a mission.

“I thought they played with a sense of urgency,” he said. “They played like this game was very, very important to them. But they’ve always played that way.”

Despite allowing Florida State to shoot 11-of-20 in the first half against its own 42 percent clip, Pitt led 33-32 on the back of six offensive rebounds.

In the second half, Pitt’s defense and rebounding helped the Panthers take control of the game and got a little help from Florida State.

“For some reason we were not able to finish our plays when we got offensive rebounds,” Hamilton said. “I thought that made the biggest difference in the game.”

Dixon always emphasizes rebounding to his team, but the way the coaching staff’s message took hold Wednesday as opposed to Saturday shows development in the young Panthers--especially for those in unfamiliar territory.

“We really tried to get the message across the last two days and I thought the guys responded,” Dixon said. “We got some guys having to play different than they’ve played before.”

The sensation of the evening was the play of redshirt senior and former walk-on Aron Phillips-Nwankwo, who had only played five minutes this season prior to Wednesday’s game. Dixon turned to him for some energy off the bench in the paint and that’s what he got.

“He was doing things we were asking our guys to do and he was doing it a little better,” Dixon said. “He earned it.”

Phillips-Nwankwo scored seven points in 12 minutes and pulled in two rebounds. When he exited the game with four minutes to play, he received a standing ovation from the Petersen Events Center crowd of 10,989.

“It was a good feeling to be recognized,” he said, “but a way better feeling just knowing I contributed to a big win for us.”

Chris Jones added 15 points for Pitt, including a thunderous dunk early in the game that energized the crowd, Jamel Artis scored 13 and Cameron Wright chipped in 10.

Phil Cofer led all scorers with a career-high 21 points for Florida State, Devon Bookert scored 13 and Montay Brandon added 12.


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If observers--casual or conscientious--of Pitt basketball haven’t learned by now, Jamie Dixon likes to win basketball games in a particular way: holding opponents below 40 percent shooting and outrebounding the opposition, ideally by 10 or more.

\r\n

As they’ve done many times before under Dixon, the Panthers (12-5, 2-2 ACC) won both battles in a 73-64 victory over Florida State Wednesday night and Dixon won for the 300th time as a head coach.

\r\n

“I’m very fortunate to be at a great place, a great university and work with great people,” Dixon said. “That’s been 16 years of that, so that’s pretty good. That’s not often the case in college coaching.”

\r\n

After hitting on 55 percent of field goal attempts, the Seminoles (9-8, 1-3) shot just 32 percent in the second half and were outrebounded 39-31.

\r\n

“The great thing is we got it done with the rebounding,” Dixon said. “Obviously that was our emphasis these last couple days. We paid the price in practice and won that battle against a good rebounding team.”

\r\n

Pitt’s performance on the glass followed a minus-17 rebounding margin suffered against Clemson Saturday, the worst deficit in Dixon’s tenure. Against a team featuring one 7-footer on the floor at all times, Pitt played the kind of physical, interior basketball that led to many of Dixon’s wins.

\r\n

Mike Young posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds (eight offensive) after a performance against Clemson he called an “embarrassment” and took it upon himself to right it.

\r\n

“I just took it all on me,” Young said. “I just felt like I didn’t do enough, I didn’t come out ready to play and I didn’t rebound.”

\r\nYoung and the rest of the Panthers came out ready after two difficult practices in which rebounding was the emphasis, and Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton could tell Pitt was on a mission.

\r\n

“I thought they played with a sense of urgency,” he said. “They played like this game was very, very important to them. But they’ve always played that way.”

\r\n

Despite allowing Florida State to shoot 11-of-20 in the first half against its own 42 percent clip, Pitt led 33-32 on the back of six offensive rebounds.

\r\n

In the second half, Pitt’s defense and rebounding helped the Panthers take control of the game and got a little help from Florida State.

\r\n

“For some reason we were not able to finish our plays when we got offensive rebounds,” Hamilton said. “I thought that made the biggest difference in the game.”

\r\n

Dixon always emphasizes rebounding to his team, but the way the coaching staff’s message took hold Wednesday as opposed to Saturday shows development in the young Panthers--especially for those in unfamiliar territory.

\r\n

“We really tried to get the message across the last two days and I thought the guys responded,” Dixon said. “We got some guys having to play different than they’ve played before.”

\r\n

The sensation of the evening was the play of redshirt senior and former walk-on Aron Phillips-Nwankwo, who had only played five minutes this season prior to Wednesday’s game. Dixon turned to him for some energy off the bench in the paint and that’s what he got.

\r\n

“He was doing things we were asking our guys to do and he was doing it a little better,” Dixon said. “He earned it.”

\r\n

Phillips-Nwankwo scored seven points in 12 minutes and pulled in two rebounds. When he exited the game with four minutes to play, he received a standing ovation from the Petersen Events Center crowd of 10,989.

\r\n

“It was a good feeling to be recognized,” he said, “but a way better feeling just knowing I contributed to a big win for us.”

\r\nChris Jones added 15 points for Pitt, including a thunderous dunk early in the game that energized the crowd, Jamel Artis scored 13 and Cameron Wright chipped in 10.

\r\n

Phil Cofer led all scorers with a career-high 21 points for Florida State, Devon Bookert scored 13 and Montay Brandon added 12.

","mobileBody":"Follow @NateBarnes_ Follow @PantherDigest

If observers--casual or conscientious--of Pitt basketball haven’t learned by now, Jamie Dixon likes to win basketball games in a particular way: holding opponents below 40 percent shooting and outrebounding the opposition, ideally by 10 or more.

As they’ve done many times before under Dixon, the Panthers (12-5, 2-2 ACC) won both battles in a 73-64 victory over Florida State Wednesday night and Dixon won for the 300th time as a head coach.

“I’m very fortunate to be at a great place, a great university and work with great people,” Dixon said. “That’s been 16 years of that, so that’s pretty good. That’s not often the case in college coaching.”

After hitting on 55 percent of field goal attempts, the Seminoles (9-8, 1-3) shot just 32 percent in the second half and were outrebounded 39-31.

“The great thing is we got it done with the rebounding,” Dixon said. “Obviously that was our emphasis these last couple days. We paid the price in practice and won that battle against a good rebounding team.”

Pitt’s performance on the glass followed a minus-17 rebounding margin suffered against Clemson Saturday, the worst deficit in Dixon’s tenure. Against a team featuring one 7-footer on the floor at all times, Pitt played the kind of physical, interior basketball that led to many of Dixon’s wins.

Mike Young posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds (eight offensive) after a performance against Clemson he called an “embarrassment” and took it upon himself to right it.

“I just took it all on me,” Young said. “I just felt like I didn’t do enough, I didn’t come out ready to play and I didn’t rebound.”

Young and the rest of the Panthers came out ready after two difficult practices in which rebounding was the emphasis, and Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton could tell Pitt was on a mission.

“I thought they played with a sense of urgency,” he said. “They played like this game was very, very important to them. But they’ve always played that way.”

Despite allowing Florida State to shoot 11-of-20 in the first half against its own 42 percent clip, Pitt led 33-32 on the back of six offensive rebounds.

In the second half, Pitt’s defense and rebounding helped the Panthers take control of the game and got a little help from Florida State.

“For some reason we were not able to finish our plays when we got offensive rebounds,” Hamilton said. “I thought that made the biggest difference in the game.”

Dixon always emphasizes rebounding to his team, but the way the coaching staff’s message took hold Wednesday as opposed to Saturday shows development in the young Panthers--especially for those in unfamiliar territory.

“We really tried to get the message across the last two days and I thought the guys responded,” Dixon said. “We got some guys having to play different than they’ve played before.”

The sensation of the evening was the play of redshirt senior and former walk-on Aron Phillips-Nwankwo, who had only played five minutes this season prior to Wednesday’s game. Dixon turned to him for some energy off the bench in the paint and that’s what he got.

“He was doing things we were asking our guys to do and he was doing it a little better,” Dixon said. “He earned it.”

Phillips-Nwankwo scored seven points in 12 minutes and pulled in two rebounds. When he exited the game with four minutes to play, he received a standing ovation from the Petersen Events Center crowd of 10,989.

“It was a good feeling to be recognized,” he said, “but a way better feeling just knowing I contributed to a big win for us.”

Chris Jones added 15 points for Pitt, including a thunderous dunk early in the game that energized the crowd, Jamel Artis scored 13 and Cameron Wright chipped in 10.

Phil Cofer led all scorers with a career-high 21 points for Florida State, Devon Bookert scored 13 and Montay Brandon added 12.

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