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Pitt-UConn: Semi-Coherent Postgame Rambling

KANSAS CITY,MO - NOVEMBER 24:  Brad Wanamaker #22 of the Pittsburgh Panthers takes a shot against the Texas Longhorns during the CBE Classic championship game on November 24, 2009 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Paul SieversAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2010

Sometimes I love being wrong; last night was one of those instances.

There's a reason I keep doubting this team...there's no logical explanation for how a team this small and inexperienced can win three straight road games against top-flight competition.

As Pitt fans, we’re used to watching players like Lett, Troutman, Gray, Young, and Blair, who could outmuscle their opponents. This Pitt team doesn’t have that, yet somehow they are still able to defend and rebound like Pitt teams of the past.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but who knows, maybe this is real; Maybe I should stop playing the underdog card and start expecting this team to win every time they step on the floor.

There’s still a lot of season left, and with 19- and 20-year-old kids, things tend to change in the blink of an eye. All I know is, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of Pitt basketball these past four games and I’m going to enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.

On to tonight’s game...

As I’ve mentioned before, if there is such a thing as clutch shooting, then there is such a thing as clutch defense, and the Panthers have an innate ability to get stops every time the game is on the line.

Pitt held UConn to 12 points over the final 10 minutes of this game, winning it on the defensive end.

That’s why my game ball goes to Gary McGhee. Gary only scored eight points, but he had nine boards, two blocks, and found a way to grab rebound after rebound in heavy traffic.

UConn made their run in the second half when he was on the bench. As excited as I am for the Dante Taylor era, maybe we should quiet the “Dante should start over Gary” talk for a little while. 

Last night was probably the best performance of McGhee’s career. Maybe this is a coming-out party for the big man.

Home games against Samardo Samuels and Greg Monroe will tell us whether the man they call “Big G” has made the proverbial leap.

Offensively, Gibbs and Brown were great as per usual, going for 19 and 11, respectively. However, Brad Wanamaker was the story for Pitt on offense. Brad shot 5-of-9 on two-point field goals against the seventh best two-point field goal defense in America.

Pitt was not winning this game without someone finding a way to score in the paint, and Brad’s ability to consistently take his man off the dribble and finish among the trees was truly spectacular.

All in all, another great night to be a Pitt hoops fan. Hail to Pitt!

 

For all things Pitt athletics, check out The First Church of Fitzgerald

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