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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt men’s basketball gains momentum against Notre Dame

First-year+forward+Jaland+Lowe+%2815%29+dribbles+during+a+game+against+Notre+Dame+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center+on+Saturday.
Bronco York | Staff Photographer
First-year forward Jaland Lowe (15) dribbles during a game against Notre Dame at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday.

Pitt men’s basketball (14-8, ACC 5-6) earned another ACC win at home on Saturday against Notre Dame (7-15, ACC 2-9). This marked the 300th win for Pitt basketball at the Petersen Events Center. 

Here are my takeaways from this weekend’s game. 

Let the offense get hot

The Panther offense struggled to get going in the first half of the game. Shots from behind the arc weren’t going in and the Panthers couldn’t make anything happen in the paint, either. This quickly turned around when senior forward Blake Hinson and first-year guard Carlton Carrington put up two massive three-pointers each late in the first half and early in the second. 

One thing I’ve learned from watching Pitt basketball play is once the Panthers let big-time scorers like Hinson and Carrington get hot, the offense picks up. Pitt basketball is clearly a team of players who feed off the energy of their teammates. At the beginning of the game, no one could capitalize on scoring opportunities. But once Hinson and Carrington cashed in 12 points, everything finally fell into place for this offense. 

Pitt improved its quick ball movement, players were making good takes to the basket and shots started to drain from the three-point line. When Pitt lets its key scorers get hot, everybody gains some confidence, and the offense picks up and puts some points on the board. 

Panther defense played big 

Since the Panthers’ offense didn’t pick up until the second half of the game, one would expect a pretty big score differential. But the Panthers held Notre Dame to a 28-22 lead at the end of the first half. Pitt managed to keep the Fighting Irish at bay by playing tough defense.

The Panthers forced multiple turnovers and shot clock violations for Notre Dame throughout the game. They played big defensively on all fronts, keeping the Irish to 39.2% in shooting from the field and 26.3% from behind the arc. The Panthers also had 26 defensive rebounds and 10 points off of turnovers. 

Pitt needs to work on tightening up play under a press

As the game was winding down, Notre Dame started pressing the court in hopes of getting some much-needed turnovers. Although the Panthers were able to push through and end the game in a win, they did struggle slightly to maintain composed movement down the court against the press. 

Pitt gave up a few easy buckets to Notre Dame at this time and allowed the Fighting Irish to score some points that came from simple execution mistakes. Although this didn’t cost the Panthers the win, I think it’s important that the team works to tighten up on its play against the press. Just because it didn’t prove fatal in this game doesn’t mean it couldn’t cause problems against another opponent or in a tighter game down the road. To assure success in the future, I think it’s key for the Panthers to address their play under a press now. 

Other quick takes 

Pitt still needs to work on its free throw percentage. The Panthers currently sit 12th in the ACC rankings for free throw percentage, which has cost them in previous games. Making these free throws is crucial for Pitt as it enters the final stretch of its schedule. 

My last take is that the momentum can’t slow now. The Panthers must lock in for their upcoming ACC games in order to give themselves the best shot at making the NCAA tournament. The current standings in the ACC are neck and neck and there is plenty of room for upset. Pitt has the potential to prove it deserves a chance to shine in the tournament this spring. 

Pitt men’s basketball will travel down to North Carolina for another ACC matchup against NC State this Wednesday, Feb. 7. The game is set for 7 p.m. and coverage will air on ESPNU. 

 

About the Contributor
Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer