Worst Case Scenario

Monday night's heartbreaking loss to the Seton Hall Pirates was the exact scenario that any Pittsburgh Panther fan dreads and one that Jamie Dixon hopes his team will not repeat.

The scenario plays out like this: Carl Krauser fouls out at the end of the game; Julius Page play a poor offensive game; and Antonio Graves takes the deciding shot of the game. Nine times out of ten the Panthers will be coming up on the losing end of that scenario.

Let's first talk about Graves' final shot. He must be commended for having the moxie and courage to attempt the game-deciding shot, however, he must hit that shot. He had his free pass with this missed three-point shot at the end of regulation against the Connecticut Huskies, but this is the second time he has been short with the final shot.

There is no excuse for Graves being in that position to take the final shot in this particular situation. As with shades of his predecessor, Krauser fouled out in the exact moment his team needed his play-making skills. Regardless of whether the foul should have been on Mark McCarroll or not, Krauser must realize that even if Andre Barret hits that shot, the Panthers have just under 10 seconds to go the length of the floor and put up a shot. Krauser has done it with less than 4 seconds himself against Miami.

What is even less excusable and downright insulting was the offensive display last night from Page. Page went 1 – 6 from the field and finished with 4 points. He shot the ball six times all game. Regardless of injury or stamina, Page must at all cost work harder to get open. He must start driving to the basket to keep defenders honest. He might be one of the premiere defenders in the country, but on a team lacking true outside scoring threats, Page's scoring abilities are vital to the ultimate success of the team.

Coach Dixon however has the right mentality with the loss. "I liked what we did and how we executed. We got a very good look. We executed. Most people would be very happy with the shot we got, and we'll just move on and get better for it."

He couldn't have been happy with the season-high number of turnovers (24). "It was one of those days," he said. "One of the strengths is the way we take care of the ball. We made some decisions that we'll learn from. It's one of those things that happens."

They'll need to learn quickly because, with a visit from Connecticut, Syracuse and a trip to Providence, the Panthers will need to win out to have a shot at a coveted #1 seed in the tournament and an easier path to the Final Four.


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