Pitt heads to No. 9 Louisville for rematch

Pitt heads to Louisville looking for revenge after the Cardinals shot 65 percent from the field in a 80-68 victory at the Petersen Events Center Jan. 25.

Jamie Dixon developed his reputation as one of the nation's college coaches this past decades by winning with defense.

As the Panthers (16-8, 5-5 ACC) face Louisville (19-4, 7-3) Wednesday night, they ride a three-game win streak and are in position to make moves in the coming week that could get them back into the national conversation.

But Pitt hasn't partially righted the ship with defense. Rather, it's been the offense.

"We’ve spent a lot of time emphasizing taking the open shot, the early shot," Dixon said. "If you take an extra pass to get a better shot that’s a good thing but not to get lesser of a shot."

By trading some patience for points, the Panthers have shot over 50 percent between their last three games and scored 77 points per game. On the season, Pitt averages 67.5 points per game.

The offensive outburst helped Pitt gain momentum after a three-game losing streak but the team knows it's not sustainable.

"Right now we’re scoring the ball pretty well but at the end of the day it’s going to come down to our defense," junior guard James Robinson said. "That definitely has to improve if we want to keep winning."

For Pitt to improve Wednesday, it will have to do so against the team that shot the highest percentage ever against a Dixon-coached team.

The first time around, Louisville hit a number of open shots and layups that made it easier for the Cardinals to hit tougher shots later on. So, tight defense from the tip is a top priority for Pitt.

"We’ve always been a big believer in that a couple of open looks, layups makes guys a whole lot better shooters as the game goes on," Dixon said.

That phenomena was embodied by Terry Rozier who made his first six shots and finished with 26 points. Defending him and Chris Jones, who scored 17, are the priorities for the perimeter defenders.

"They got some easy buckets early and that kind of got their guys going and made some of what would be tough shots easier," Robinson said. "We have to clamp down from the beginning of the game and make sure we really lock down on defense."

In the post, Montrezl Harrell is another concern after he scored 18 points in the first game. Defending him isn't so much an issue in the post for Pitt's big men, but keeping him from getting transition opportunities.

"We can’t let him get any transition baskets," Dixon said. "We gave them a couple baskets pressing that gave him layups, and we can’t do that."

As for Pitt, the Panthers will need another big performance from Jamel Artis who was named ACC Player of the Week after averaging 26 points and eight rebounds per game in wins over Bryant and Syracuse last week.

Artis' play in the second half against Syracuse helped Pitt bust open the Orange's zone and take control down the stretch. The Panthers need more of the same from him after Louisville's zone defense held Pitt to 37 percent shooting last month, and Artis learned what his team must do better this time around.

"More spacing like we did against Syracuse," he said. "More spacing against the zone, our guards drop and we find we can feed the post or feed out to the wings and make shots and I can drive-and-kick and that can open our guys up to get shots."

Artis has led Pitt in conference play with 15.4 points alongside 6.3 rebounds per game. His performance against ACC competition has upped his scoring to 12.8 points per game after he entered league play averaging just 8.5 points per game.

"I feel a lot more comfortable this year," Artis said. "I’m getting a lot more minutes and I feel like the guys, they need me this season."

Mike Young still leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.2 points and eight boards per game.

Pitt could be without starting guard Cameron Wright, who left after only four minutes against Syracuse with a sprained ankle. Dixon said Monday the senior is day-to-day.

Even with Artis' emergence, Wednesday's game will still come down to defense and he knows that as someone who has helped Pitt win its last few games with offense.

"That’s not going to happen every game," Artis said. "We’ve got to lock down and play defense, and that’s what I think we didn’t do against Louisville. We didn’t play any defense on their two guards and it showed and we lost."


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Jamie Dixon developed his reputation as one of the nation's college coaches this past decades by winning with defense.

\r\n

As the Panthers (16-8, 5-5 ACC) face Louisville (19-4, 7-3) Wednesday night, they ride a three-game win streak and are in position to make moves in the coming week that could get them back into the national conversation.

\r\n

But Pitt hasn't partially righted the ship with defense. Rather, it's been the offense.

\r\n

\"We’ve spent a lot of time emphasizing taking the open shot, the early shot,\" Dixon said. \"If you take an extra pass to get a better shot that’s a good thing but not to get lesser of a shot.\"

\r\n

By trading some patience for points, the Panthers have shot over 50 percent between their last three games and scored 77 points per game. On the season, Pitt averages 67.5 points per game.

\r\n

The offensive outburst helped Pitt gain momentum after a three-game losing streak but the team knows it's not sustainable.

\r\n

\"Right now we’re scoring the ball pretty well but at the end of the day it’s going to come down to our defense,\" junior guard James Robinson said. \"That definitely has to improve if we want to keep winning.\"

\r\n

For Pitt to improve Wednesday, it will have to do so against the team that shot the highest percentage ever against a Dixon-coached team.

\r\n

The first time around, Louisville hit a number of open shots and layups that made it easier for the Cardinals to hit tougher shots later on. So, tight defense from the tip is a top priority for Pitt.

\r\n

\"We’ve always been a big believer in that a couple of open looks, layups makes guys a whole lot better shooters as the game goes on,\" Dixon said.

\r\n

That phenomena was embodied by Terry Rozier who made his first six shots and finished with 26 points. Defending him and Chris Jones, who scored 17, are the priorities for the perimeter defenders.

\r\n

\"They got some easy buckets early and that kind of got their guys going and made some of what would be tough shots easier,\" Robinson said. \"We have to clamp down from the beginning of the game and make sure we really lock down on defense.\"

\r\n

In the post, Montrezl Harrell is another concern after he scored 18 points in the first game. Defending him isn't so much an issue in the post for Pitt's big men, but keeping him from getting transition opportunities.

\r\n

\"We can’t let him get any transition baskets,\" Dixon said. \"We gave them a couple baskets pressing that gave him layups, and we can’t do that.\"

\r\n

As for Pitt, the Panthers will need another big performance from Jamel Artis who was named ACC Player of the Week after averaging 26 points and eight rebounds per game in wins over Bryant and Syracuse last week.

\r\n

Artis' play in the second half against Syracuse helped Pitt bust open the Orange's zone and take control down the stretch. The Panthers need more of the same from him after Louisville's zone defense held Pitt to 37 percent shooting last month, and Artis learned what his team must do better this time around.

\r\n

\"More spacing like we did against Syracuse,\" he said. \"More spacing against the zone, our guards drop and we find we can feed the post or feed out to the wings and make shots and I can drive-and-kick and that can open our guys up to get shots.\"

\r\n

Artis has led Pitt in conference play with 15.4 points alongside 6.3 rebounds per game. His performance against ACC competition has upped his scoring to 12.8 points per game after he entered league play averaging just 8.5 points per game.

\r\n

\"I feel a lot more comfortable this year,\" Artis said. \"I’m getting a lot more minutes and I feel like the guys, they need me this season.\"

\r\n

Mike Young still leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.2 points and eight boards per game.

\r\n

Pitt could be without starting guard Cameron Wright, who left after only four minutes against Syracuse with a sprained ankle. Dixon said Monday the senior is day-to-day.

\r\n

Even with Artis' emergence, Wednesday's game will still come down to defense and he knows that as someone who has helped Pitt win its last few games with offense.

\r\n

\"That’s not going to happen every game,\" Artis said. \"We’ve got to lock down and play defense, and that’s what I think we didn’t do against Louisville. We didn’t play any defense on their two guards and it showed and we lost.\"

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

Jamie Dixon developed his reputation as one of the nation's college coaches this past decades by winning with defense.

As the Panthers (16-8, 5-5 ACC) face Louisville (19-4, 7-3) Wednesday night, they ride a three-game win streak and are in position to make moves in the coming week that could get them back into the national conversation.

But Pitt hasn't partially righted the ship with defense. Rather, it's been the offense.

\"We’ve spent a lot of time emphasizing taking the open shot, the early shot,\" Dixon said. \"If you take an extra pass to get a better shot that’s a good thing but not to get lesser of a shot.\"

By trading some patience for points, the Panthers have shot over 50 percent between their last three games and scored 77 points per game. On the season, Pitt averages 67.5 points per game.

The offensive outburst helped Pitt gain momentum after a three-game losing streak but the team knows it's not sustainable.

\"Right now we’re scoring the ball pretty well but at the end of the day it’s going to come down to our defense,\" junior guard James Robinson said. \"That definitely has to improve if we want to keep winning.\"

For Pitt to improve Wednesday, it will have to do so against the team that shot the highest percentage ever against a Dixon-coached team.

The first time around, Louisville hit a number of open shots and layups that made it easier for the Cardinals to hit tougher shots later on. So, tight defense from the tip is a top priority for Pitt.

\"We’ve always been a big believer in that a couple of open looks, layups makes guys a whole lot better shooters as the game goes on,\" Dixon said.

That phenomena was embodied by Terry Rozier who made his first six shots and finished with 26 points. Defending him and Chris Jones, who scored 17, are the priorities for the perimeter defenders.

\"They got some easy buckets early and that kind of got their guys going and made some of what would be tough shots easier,\" Robinson said. \"We have to clamp down from the beginning of the game and make sure we really lock down on defense.\"

In the post, Montrezl Harrell is another concern after he scored 18 points in the first game. Defending him isn't so much an issue in the post for Pitt's big men, but keeping him from getting transition opportunities.

\"We can’t let him get any transition baskets,\" Dixon said. \"We gave them a couple baskets pressing that gave him layups, and we can’t do that.\"

As for Pitt, the Panthers will need another big performance from Jamel Artis who was named ACC Player of the Week after averaging 26 points and eight rebounds per game in wins over Bryant and Syracuse last week.

Artis' play in the second half against Syracuse helped Pitt bust open the Orange's zone and take control down the stretch. The Panthers need more of the same from him after Louisville's zone defense held Pitt to 37 percent shooting last month, and Artis learned what his team must do better this time around.

\"More spacing like we did against Syracuse,\" he said. \"More spacing against the zone, our guards drop and we find we can feed the post or feed out to the wings and make shots and I can drive-and-kick and that can open our guys up to get shots.\"

Artis has led Pitt in conference play with 15.4 points alongside 6.3 rebounds per game. His performance against ACC competition has upped his scoring to 12.8 points per game after he entered league play averaging just 8.5 points per game.

\"I feel a lot more comfortable this year,\" Artis said. \"I’m getting a lot more minutes and I feel like the guys, they need me this season.\"

Mike Young still leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.2 points and eight boards per game.

Pitt could be without starting guard Cameron Wright, who left after only four minutes against Syracuse with a sprained ankle. Dixon said Monday the senior is day-to-day.

Even with Artis' emergence, Wednesday's game will still come down to defense and he knows that as someone who has helped Pitt win its last few games with offense.

\"That’s not going to happen every game,\" Artis said. \"We’ve got to lock down and play defense, and that’s what I think we didn’t do against Louisville. We didn’t play any defense on their two guards and it showed and we lost.\"

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