Commentary

Instant Analysis: Pitt at Georgetown

Originally Published: January 3, 2009
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com

WASHINGTON -- ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil provides instant analysis from Pitt's 70-54 win at Georgetown on Saturday.

GAME ANALYSIS: Its schedule questioned, its own success dwarfed by Connecticut early and then by the Hoyas' upset of the Huskies, Pitt now has stepped front and center into the spotlight.

Fans of "West Side Story" would appreciate games between Pitt and Georgetown: They are all street fights, never works of art. This was no different -- the game was won with defense and rebounding. The Panthers cleaned out the Hoyas on the glass, turning every rebound into a personal battle they refused to lose.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: After DaJuan Summers sank a 3-pointer to knot the game at 40, the Panthers turned up the heat, sprinting to an 11-2 run. Chronically underappreciated Sam Young started the swing, grabbing a rebound off of a Levance Fields 3, missing a jumper and then following his own shot for the tip in. That single play was a microcosm of the game, in which the Panthers outworked and outhustled the Hoyas on the boards.

[+] EnlargeDeJuan Blair
AP Photo/Luis M. AlvarezDeJuan Blair was too much for the Hoyas down low in Pitt's win.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: DeJuan Blair is but one man, though he played better than five Hoyas. The sophomore pulled down 17 rebounds to Georgetown's team total of 21 and with his team recognizing it's not a good idea to keep the big man hungry, the Panthers continually fed him the ball as he finished with 20 points to complete the overpowering double-double.

STAT OF THE GAME: This didn't figure to be a fair matchup on the boards. Pitt is second in the Big East in rebounding margin, topping opponents by an average of 9.8 rebounds per game. Georgetown is patrolling the bottom of the rankings, 13th out of 16 teams, but the Hoyas couldn't have expected to practically get out-boarded by one man. Blair's 17 boards led a charge that ended with the Panthers embarrassing Georgetown on the boards 46-21.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Panthers remain one of five undefeated teams in the country -- a number that could dwindle by the end of the night after Wake Forest plays at BYU, where the Cougars never lose, and Illinois State hosts Valley rival Creighton -- but more importantly they emerge as the top of the class in a high-level Big East conference. Meanwhile, the Hoyas will have little time to regroup. Arguably among the top part of the conference, Georgetown will have to have a short memory to stay there. The Hoyas go to South Bend to play Notre Dame on Monday.

First-half analysis


TURNING POINT: Hard to say in a half where there wasn't much wiggle room for either team. The Hoyas were threatening to charge in for an end-of-half lead when Levance Fields found Gilbert Brown sneaking on the baseline. Fields hit the hard-cutting Brown for an authoritative alley-oop to give Pitt a 33-30 halftime cushion.

TURNING POINT II: Georgetown was skating on relatively thin ice until Chris Wright scored on a sliding baseline backdoor cut (what, you were expecting something else from John Thompson III?). Wright's bucket put the Hoyas within two and injected life into a Verizon Center crowd that was desperate to cheer for something.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Without DaJuan Summers in the first half, the Hoyas were staring at a cavern of a hole. The junior shot 6-of-9 from the floor, including a flawless 3-of-3 from the arc, for 16 first-half points. Considering the rest of his team shot 3-of-17 from the floor, Summers wasn't part of the Georgetown offense. He was the Hoyas' offense.

STAT OF THE HALF: The Panthers started their board assault early and their 24-15 first-half advantage was bigger in scope than in numbers, as it allowed Pitt to keep the Hoyas just far enough at bay to hold on to the halftime lead.

HOME COOKIN': Pitt's Sam Young and Jermaine Dixon brought their fair share of fans to D.C. Young grew up in Clinton, Md., and Dixon is from Baltimore. His older brother, Washington Wizards guard Juan Dixon, who took Maryland to the 2002 NCAA title, was in attendance.

Dana O'Neil is a college basketball writer for ESPN.com.

Dana O'Neil | email

College Basketball