Pitt opens ACC Tournament against NC State

Pittsburgh faces North Carolina State as the Panthers begin play in the ACC Tournament Wednesday night.

Pitt's first conference game of 2015 resulted in a 68-50 loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 4. If the result of Wednesday's game mirrors the one from two months ago, the Panthers' ACC season will end the way it began.

After a three-game losing streak dropped Pitt to No. 10-seed in the league, the Panthers face No. 7 N.C. State at the Greensboro Coliseum as each team begins play in the ACC Tournament.

To resuscitate their NCAA Tournament hopes, a deep run into the ACC Tournament is necessary and the keys for Jamie Dixon are the same as any game: defense and rebounding.

"The defense let us down then and is still our concern now," Dixon said. "We’re better defensively but we’re still not where we need to be."

Pitt yielded 41 points to the Wolfpack in the second half of the first game and a 52 percent clip from the field. The Panthers had no answer for Trevor Lacey, who scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and Anthony Barber who penetrated Pitt's defense at will to create opportunities for Lacey, Ralston Turner and others possession after possession.

Point guard James Robinson will line up across from Barber and the junior knows his team will get more of the same from the fleet-footed guard nicknamed "Cat."

"He’s going to be attacking, he’s going to be getting in the line trying to make plays for other people," Robinson said. "We’ve got to keep him in front of us, make him as well as everybody else take contested jumpshots."

Barber averaged 11.8 points and 3.8 assists per game while Lacey led the team in scoring with his average of 16.1 points per game. His play this season has granted the Wolfpack more offensive freedom this season.

"He’s a guy that can really make plays on his own," Dixon said. "They’re doing a lot more isolations and one-on-one for him rather than the sets they’ve run in the past."

Alongside Lacey and Barber, Ralston Turner rounds out one of the league's most productive backcourts with his 13.3 points per game.

But while the perimeter is a concern, the Panthers must also contend with the Wolfpack's depth on the interior. Lennard Freeman leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game, but four other players average 4.2 or more per game.

"They’ve got four guys in there," Dixon said. "That’s something we’re lacking right, that rotation of those four bodies so somebody can get in foul trouble and they’ve got three other guys to go to."

Those guys include Abdul-Malik Abu, Kyle Washington, Lennard Freeman and ACC Sixth Man of the Year BeeJay Anya. As a group, they average 20.7 points and 19.1 rebounds per game.

Michael Young struggled against that group in the first matchup, scoring 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting as the Wolfpack doubled him nearly every time he touched the ball. He now admits the frustration leaked into other parts of his game, which he's committed to correcting this time around.

"I’ve just got to stay aggressive, stay active," Young said. "If I’m not scoring then try to go get a rebound, set some good screens, try to get open like that, run in transition and just stay active."

Pitt was outrebounded 34-30 in the first matchup, but what the Panthers cannot afford to do against is shoot 33 percent from the field while giving up over 50.

One loss ends the Panthers' season and any lingering hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.

"We’ve obviously got a good team in NC State coming up so we’ve just gotta be ready for them," Robinson said. "We can’t worry about anything else."

READ: Scout.com's ACC Tournament Preview

WATCH: ACC Tournament Preview Interviews

Jamie Dixon

James Robinson

Michael Young

Chris Jones

Jamel Artis

Cameron Wright


Panther Digest Top Stories

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Pitt's first conference game of 2015 resulted in a 68-50 loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 4. If the result of Wednesday's game mirrors the one from two months ago, the Panthers' ACC season will end the way it began.

\r\n

After a three-game losing streak dropped Pitt to No. 10-seed in the league, the Panthers face No. 7 N.C. State at the Greensboro Coliseum as each team begins play in the ACC Tournament.

\r\n

To resuscitate their NCAA Tournament hopes, a deep run into the ACC Tournament is necessary and the keys for Jamie Dixon are the same as any game: defense and rebounding.

\r\n

\"The defense let us down then and is still our concern now,\" Dixon said. \"We’re better defensively but we’re still not where we need to be.\"

\r\n

Pitt yielded 41 points to the Wolfpack in the second half of the first game and a 52 percent clip from the field. The Panthers had no answer for Trevor Lacey, who scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and Anthony Barber who penetrated Pitt's defense at will to create opportunities for Lacey, Ralston Turner and others possession after possession.

\r\n

Point guard James Robinson will line up across from Barber and the junior knows his team will get more of the same from the fleet-footed guard nicknamed \"Cat.\"

\r\n

\"He’s going to be attacking, he’s going to be getting in the line trying to make plays for other people,\" Robinson said. \"We’ve got to keep him in front of us, make him as well as everybody else take contested jumpshots.\"

\r\n

Barber averaged 11.8 points and 3.8 assists per game while Lacey led the team in scoring with his average of 16.1 points per game. His play this season has granted the Wolfpack more offensive freedom this season.

\r\n

\"He’s a guy that can really make plays on his own,\" Dixon said. \"They’re doing a lot more isolations and one-on-one for him rather than the sets they’ve run in the past.\"

\r\n

Alongside Lacey and Barber, Ralston Turner rounds out one of the league's most productive backcourts with his 13.3 points per game.

\r\n

But while the perimeter is a concern, the Panthers must also contend with the Wolfpack's depth on the interior. Lennard Freeman leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game, but four other players average 4.2 or more per game.

\r\n

\"They’ve got four guys in there,\" Dixon said. \"That’s something we’re lacking right, that rotation of those four bodies so somebody can get in foul trouble and they’ve got three other guys to go to.\"

\r\n

Those guys include Abdul-Malik Abu, Kyle Washington, Lennard Freeman and ACC Sixth Man of the Year BeeJay Anya. As a group, they average 20.7 points and 19.1 rebounds per game.

\r\n

Michael Young struggled against that group in the first matchup, scoring 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting as the Wolfpack doubled him nearly every time he touched the ball. He now admits the frustration leaked into other parts of his game, which he's committed to correcting this time around.

\r\n

\"I’ve just got to stay aggressive, stay active,\" Young said. \"If I’m not scoring then try to go get a rebound, set some good screens, try to get open like that, run in transition and just stay active.\"

\r\n

Pitt was outrebounded 34-30 in the first matchup, but what the Panthers cannot afford to do against is shoot 33 percent from the field while giving up over 50.

\r\n

One loss ends the Panthers' season and any lingering hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.

\r\n

\"We’ve obviously got a good team in NC State coming up so we’ve just gotta be ready for them,\" Robinson said. \"We can’t worry about anything else.\"

\r\n

READ: Scout.com's ACC Tournament Preview

\r\n

WATCH: ACC Tournament Preview Interviews

\r\n

Jamie Dixon

\r\n

James Robinson

\r\n

Michael Young

\r\n

Chris Jones

\r\n

Jamel Artis

\r\n

Cameron Wright

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

Pitt's first conference game of 2015 resulted in a 68-50 loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 4. If the result of Wednesday's game mirrors the one from two months ago, the Panthers' ACC season will end the way it began.

After a three-game losing streak dropped Pitt to No. 10-seed in the league, the Panthers face No. 7 N.C. State at the Greensboro Coliseum as each team begins play in the ACC Tournament.

To resuscitate their NCAA Tournament hopes, a deep run into the ACC Tournament is necessary and the keys for Jamie Dixon are the same as any game: defense and rebounding.

\"The defense let us down then and is still our concern now,\" Dixon said. \"We’re better defensively but we’re still not where we need to be.\"

Pitt yielded 41 points to the Wolfpack in the second half of the first game and a 52 percent clip from the field. The Panthers had no answer for Trevor Lacey, who scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and Anthony Barber who penetrated Pitt's defense at will to create opportunities for Lacey, Ralston Turner and others possession after possession.

Point guard James Robinson will line up across from Barber and the junior knows his team will get more of the same from the fleet-footed guard nicknamed \"Cat.\"

\"He’s going to be attacking, he’s going to be getting in the line trying to make plays for other people,\" Robinson said. \"We’ve got to keep him in front of us, make him as well as everybody else take contested jumpshots.\"

Barber averaged 11.8 points and 3.8 assists per game while Lacey led the team in scoring with his average of 16.1 points per game. His play this season has granted the Wolfpack more offensive freedom this season.

\"He’s a guy that can really make plays on his own,\" Dixon said. \"They’re doing a lot more isolations and one-on-one for him rather than the sets they’ve run in the past.\"

Alongside Lacey and Barber, Ralston Turner rounds out one of the league's most productive backcourts with his 13.3 points per game.

But while the perimeter is a concern, the Panthers must also contend with the Wolfpack's depth on the interior. Lennard Freeman leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game, but four other players average 4.2 or more per game.

\"They’ve got four guys in there,\" Dixon said. \"That’s something we’re lacking right, that rotation of those four bodies so somebody can get in foul trouble and they’ve got three other guys to go to.\"

Those guys include Abdul-Malik Abu, Kyle Washington, Lennard Freeman and ACC Sixth Man of the Year BeeJay Anya. As a group, they average 20.7 points and 19.1 rebounds per game.

Michael Young struggled against that group in the first matchup, scoring 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting as the Wolfpack doubled him nearly every time he touched the ball. He now admits the frustration leaked into other parts of his game, which he's committed to correcting this time around.

\"I’ve just got to stay aggressive, stay active,\" Young said. \"If I’m not scoring then try to go get a rebound, set some good screens, try to get open like that, run in transition and just stay active.\"

Pitt was outrebounded 34-30 in the first matchup, but what the Panthers cannot afford to do against is shoot 33 percent from the field while giving up over 50.

One loss ends the Panthers' season and any lingering hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.

\"We’ve obviously got a good team in NC State coming up so we’ve just gotta be ready for them,\" Robinson said. \"We can’t worry about anything else.\"

READ: Scout.com's ACC Tournament Preview

WATCH: ACC Tournament Preview Interviews

Jamie Dixon

James Robinson

Michael Young

Chris Jones

Jamel Artis

Cameron Wright

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