Pulling off the Sting Zanna, Robinson, Sharp Free-Throw Shooting Down the Stretch Help No. 22 Panthers Put the Bite on Yellow Jackets for 4th Acc Win in Row Pitt 81, Georgia Tech 74

By Zeise, Paul | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), January 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Pulling off the Sting Zanna, Robinson, Sharp Free-Throw Shooting Down the Stretch Help No. 22 Panthers Put the Bite on Yellow Jackets for 4th Acc Win in Row Pitt 81, Georgia Tech 74


Zeise, Paul, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


ATLANTA -- The ball comes off the rim on a missed shot in a typical basketball game and five or six large bodies and long arms jump up to grab it.

And when Pitt is playing, the player who comes down with the ball to secure the rebound usually is wearing a Panthers uniform because rebounding is one of the fundamental elements of coach Jamie Dixon's program.

That was on display Tuesday night when the Panthers throttled Georgia Tech on the boards and rode that edge to an 81-74 win against the Yellow Jackets before a crowd of 7,131 at McCamish Pavilion to improve to 16-1 (4-0 in the ACC).

Pitt, which played its first game without Durand Johnson, didn't get a big night from senior standout Lamar Patterson but the Panthers did what they do best -- they rebounded. In fact, they outrebounded the Yellow Jackets, 38-18, and that led to a 46-34 edge in points in the paint and a 21-11 edge in second-chance points.

"I'm excited about the win, I am excited by how we did it," Dixon said. "The rebounding, you obviously have to win that on the road and to do it by that kind of margin was very good. We also hit some free throws down the stretch. The rebounding really stood out to me. Our rebounding numbers have been good, but we always believe we can get better and we did a good job.

"And our passing was terrific, that is what we do, we are good shooting team, but when you get layups, that is why you shoot 57 percent from the field."

Pitt senior Talib Zanna, who had 22 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, said that the Panthers emphasized rebounding even more coming into this game because the Yellow Jackets have been a pretty good rebounding team.

He said that the Panthers path to victory usually starts with rebounding because even if they don't shoot well they can keep themselves in the game by holding the other team to only one shot per possession and keeping offensive possessions alive.

"[Jamie] Dixon always talks to us about rebounding the basketball and being tougher than who we are playing on rebounding," Zanna said. "We came out and we didn't play as well as we have in the first half but we kept fighting and getting rebounds and that helped us stay in the game until we got the offense going."

It was Pitt's sixth consecutive win and fourth ACC win in a row. The victory also sets up a showdown Saturday against ACC rival and No. 2-ranked Syracuse (17-0, 4-0) at the Carrier Dome. …

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