Posted: 4:40 p.m. Saturday, March 9, 2013
Pitt stormed out of the gates in Allstate Arena, starting 5-5 from the floor and 19-25 in the first half en route to a relatively easy 15-point win over the Blue Demons. The Panthers cut through DePaul's press with ease in the first half. The Demons' defensive effort was awful throughout the first 20 minutes. Pitt, a team not known for offensive firepower, seemingly couldn't miss. The Panthers are efficient on offense, but not that efficient. That first half performance should give the Panthers loads of confidence on offense going into the Big East and NCAA Tournaments.
There isn't much to say about Pitt's defense. Switching to a zone seemed to give Pitt enough breathing room to build a double-digit lead in the first half and keep it for most of the second. DePaul shot well, but the Blue Demons are near the top of the conference in points per game and it was their Senior Day - they were going to shoot well and come out firing anyways.
The Panthers eased off the pedal in the second half and got sloppy on the offensive end - and it wasn't even due to a full court press. Pitt got into their half court sets and coughed the ball up several times. The Panthers ultimately ended with 16 turnovers. J.J. Moore and Tray Woodall kept any sort of DePaul run at bay, shooting a combined 16-19 from the field and 7-9 from the perimeter. Moore ended with 21 points and Woodall had 18. J.J. in particular had a terrific offensive performance, going 8-8 from the floor, and being a player who's scoring is tied in to his emotions, this performance is what he needs to get going in the postseason. He does need to watch himself though, as he was called for a pointless technical for displaying those emotions after hitting his 5th shot from deep.
Steven Adams came back after missing Sunday's game against Villanova and had an okay performance, scoring 8 points and grabbing 4 boards. With both teams shooting so well, rebounds were at a premium, but Pitt still ended with 26 boards and won the rebounding margin by 12. Talib Zanna disappeared after having a monster performance against Villanova on Sunday, scoring only 5 points and grabbing 4 boards.
Pitt now waits for the results from Louisville-Notre Dame. A Cardinal win gives Pitt a double-bye and a potential quarterfinal game against Syracuse. An Irish win gives Pitt the 5 seed and a second round game against Seton Hall or USF. Obviously, the double-bye is preferred.