Georgia Tech simply could not deal with the efficiency of the Pittsburgh Panthers half-court offense as the Yellow Jackets fall to 1-3 in ACC play after losing 81-74 at McCamish Pavilion Tuesday night.
The first half was similar to a feeling out process between two fighters. Both teams really did not give up too much ground to the other. Georgia Tech had a hard time with Pittsburgh’s ball movement and could not really find an answer for the Panthers’ interior passing. Pittsburgh Forward Talib Zanna was hurting Tech inside, and the Panthers scored 18 of their 32 first half points in the paint .
Georgia Tech, however, did a lot of things very well in the first half. Tech’s ball movement was stellar. and the Jackets held Pitt leading scorer Lamar Patterson, who came into this game averaging 23 ppg in conference play, to no points and 0 of 5 shooting in the opening frame.
The Yellow Jackets also did a great job offensively of sharing the ball. Tech had assists on eight of the 13 buckets they made in the half and all five starters logged points on the stat sheet. The Jackets’ guards found the range from deep hitting 4 of 9 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. They kept their turnovers down only committing six, but the most important thing that they did was go into the locker room with a 35-32 lead.
In the second half, Pittsburgh started off on a 9-2 run with Lamar Patterson being a catalyst and opened up a 41-37 lead. From that point, Pittsburgh continued to get the ball into the interior with ease, and the offensive efficiency of Jamie Dixon’s offense started to take over the game as they extended that four point lead to 14 at 59-45. Georgia Tech really never seemed to get their bearings after that, and Pittsburgh simply was getting whatever they wanted offensively.
Overall,Pitt shot 56% from the field and had assists on 18 of the 29 field goals that they made in the game. That is flat out ridiculous efficiency. They were also able to get the ball into the interior of Georgia Tech’s defense throughout the game. That was the biggest problem that Tech faced tonight.
Pittsburgh finished with 38 points in the paint, and Talib Zanna was the biggest problem, scoring 22 points on 8 of 10 from the field to go along with nine rebounds. Lamar Patterson had a strong second half and finished with a stat sheet stuffing 12 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Georgia Tech appeared to want to make a late push to get back in the game with under three minutes, but they were simply out of gas. Tech’s lack of depth–which was made worse by Jason Morris missing this game with a concussion–finally caught up with them, and it was never more evident than tonight. Getting into early foul trouble didn’t help matters, as the Yellow Jackets foul situation definitely shrunk an already short rotation.
Georgia Tech appeared to be up for the challenge against a top 25 team, you have to give them that. But Jamie Dixon’s Panthers were like a well oiled machine and could possibly be the best team in the ACC right now. The Yellow Jackets gave it a good run but now they will fall to 10-7 overall and 1-3 in the ACC. Next up for Tech is a Saturday date with the Miami Hurricanes.