Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Like It or Not, Offense Will Lead Way This Year

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Like It or Not, Offense Will Lead Way This Year

Article excerpt

Pitt's formula Saturday to beat Kent State was one that is seemingly going to be the Panthers' best path to win games this year, but it is one with which coach Jamie Dixon is still trying to get comfortable.

Traditionally a team that wins with hard-nosed, physical defense and efficient half-court offense, the Panthers used a 2-3 zone and a more uptempo offense to beat the Golden Flashes, 85-76.

It is at least the second time in four games they needed a zone defense to save the day as their man defense was not effective and the Panthers were able to overcome a large deficit in rebounding margin with excellent 3-point shooting.

This is likely the way the Panthers will continue to play because they seem to be better equipped in a zone defense because they have so many long, athletic players but no great lock-down defenders.

But more important, Pitt can score from all five positions and Dixon has the luxury of putting a team on the court that can hit 3s from all five positions, so they can be a matchup problem for other bigger, slower teams.

Dixon said the Panthers have to get better defensively if they want to be a championship team, but in the meantime he has been impressed with how well his team has played offensively.

"We think we have a good shooting team," Dixon said. "We pass it really well and we take good shots, so we think we should shoot good percentages from 3. We also recognize how to get good shots. It is usually with an interior touch or penetration, and I think that's the key.

"We have to keep doing it. Shot selection is the key for us and that's been really good so far."

Pitt's offensive production Saturday was indeed impressive and that goes beyond their shooting percentages (.564 from the field, .625 from 3-point range and .929 from the free-throw line).

The Panthers had an assist on 26 of 31 field goals, only 10 turnovers and, as Dixon said, their shot selection was very good because many of them came off passes and were open. …

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