GETTING INSIDE During his seven seasons as the Pittsburgh head coach, Jamie Dixon has only lost twice to the same team in the same season six times.
Connecticut handed Pitt two of its five losses in 2003-04. Villanova and West Virginia did it in 2004-05. Georgetown and Marquette did it in 2006-07. And Villanova did it again last season.
That's a sign of a coach making good adjustments. And when Seton Hall pays a visit to the Petersen Events Center Saturday night at 6, Dixon and the Panthers hope to avoid losing to the Pirates twice in the span of two weeks.
Seton Hall defeated Pitt, 64-61, in New Jersey Jan. 24. Even though Jeremy Hazell only scored eight points in that game, Seton Hall won because forward Herb Pope scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and the Panthers had too many uncharacteristic mental breakdowns on offense and defense.
Keep this in mind as Seton Hall goes for the sweep: The Pirates have lost 15 consecutive games against ranked teams on the road, and Pitt has lost three games at the Petersen Events Center since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.
WEST VIRGINIA 70, PITT 51: The Panthers cut West Virginia's lead to 43-41 with 12:53 remaining, but the Mountaineers went on a 10-2 run to take back control of the contest. After cutting the lead to two, Pitt missed its next 10 shots from the field.
Jermaine Dixon led the Panthers with 13 points. Ashton Gibbs had 11.
The game turned in the final 10 minutes when the Mountaineers were the more physical team. They outrebounded Pitt by a 29-16 margin in the second half.
--Ashton Gibbs was 2 for 13 from the field against West Virginia. He is now 22 for his last 80 (27.5 percent) from the field.
--Freshman C Dante Taylor, a highly touted prospect and McDonald's All-American, did not score for the fourth consecutive game. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon pulled Taylor after only six minutes against West Virginia and used third-string center JJ Richardson for 14 minutes. Richardson scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds.
--Junior G Bradley Wanamaker, Pitt's second-leading scorer, was held without a point for the first time this season. Wanamaker was 0 for 4 from the field and 0 for 2 from the foul line.
ON THE SPOT: Pitt has to get back to rebounding the ball better. The Panthers have been outrebounded in their past three games after getting outrebounded only once in the first 18 games.
West Virginia won the rebounding battle, 45-31. South Florida outrebounded Pitt by one in the previous game. And St. John's outrebounded the Panthers by 10 the game before that.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "How well they play isn't always based on stats. That has to be recognized. We know what our rotation is and what's best for our team. We've had injuries, and fouls are always a part of it. Those things always dictate adjustments.'' -- Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said about his player rotation.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: A split with St. John's and South Florida left the Panthers with a 6-3 record in the Big East. The Panthers have lost three of their last four games since beginning the conference schedule with five wins in a row.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Nasir Robinson, C Gary McGhee, G Brad Wanamaker, G Ashton Gibbs, G Jermaine Dixon. Key Subs -- G-F Gilbert Brown, F Dante Taylor, G Travon Woodall.
Seton Hall 64, Pittsburgh 61
Pittsburgh 63, St. John's 53
South Florida 70, Pittsburgh 61
West Virginia 70, Pittsburgh 51
vs. Seton Hall, Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center
vs. Robert Morris, Monday, Feb. 8
vs. West Virginia, Friday, Feb. 12
at Marquette, Thursday, Feb. 18
IN FOCUS: Seton Hall is going for the season sweep, but it might not be likely, even with the Panthers sliding. The Pirates have lost 15 consecutive games against ranked teams on the road, and Pitt has lost three games at the Petersen Events Center since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.
--Jermaine Dixon missed the South Florida game because of a sprained right ankle. The Panthers sorely missed him, as he would have guarded Dominique Jones who torched Pitt for 37 points.
--Dante Taylor's scoreless streak reached three games in the loss to South Florida. The freshman forward played eight minutes and did not take a shot against the Bulls.
--Travon Woodall got the start against South Florida thanks to Jermaine Dixon's injury. He had a tough time of it, however, fouling out in 17 minutes with no points and no assists.
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