It's always nice to play with house money in Vegas but it still stings a bit if you give it back. After a horse race of a win last night against the Illini I think most of us had already considered our trip to the Big Apple a success heading into tonight's Pitt game. And while we fought like hell for 40 minutes in the end we just came up short of pulling off a second straight huge win. Though there was a lot of bad to go with the good we have to keep in mind that Pitt's a team many expect to be hell on opponents this season, a ttough and physical veteran team against whom we didn't give an inch. If there's one thing to take away from tonight, it's that.
Offensively the combination of Pitt's D and our tired legs had us looking a bit out of sorts much of the game. While the movement was good at times the offense seemed out of sorts almost from the opening tip. We certainly didn't take care of the ball nor distribute as well as last night. Hamilton had a nice night but forced a few too many shots. Biggest problem was the low number of looks we got for Thompson. J'Covan had his best night thus far, particularly in the second half when he was able to channel his aggression in a positive manner. But we didn't get enough from Johnson and Joseph although CJ did do a nice impression of DJ Augustin against UCLA but unfortunately Damion was nowhere to be found to clean it up the desperation shot at the buzzer. There are going to be nights like this, particularly early in the season as we continue to feel our way on the offensive end. Overall I'm encouraged by what I saw on offense last night and tonight. A little more Joseph and we'll take off.
Defensively we didn't force enough turnovers and we looked lost trying to guard Ashton Gibbs much of the second half. We made Pitt work most of the night. One place where I've seen a great bit of improvement is in transition D which was a disaster last season. Against Illinois and Pitt we did a much better job of rotating back.
To finish on an up note, it was nice to see us continue to scrap back against Pitt. That game could have gotten away from us on 2-3 occassions in the second half but each time we fought our way off the ropes. I think we showed a lot of mental toughness and the Big Apple trip gave us a pretty good guage of where we are and what needs work. It's been a very productive start to the season.