I thought I would take advantage of an afternoon game to see how I do at live-blogging the UT-Pittsburgh basketball game. UT s got a big challenge at the Petersen Events Center and it will be interesting to see how the Rockets attack it.
Tyrone Kent, Jerrah Young, Corey Bingham, Jonathan Amos, Ridley Johnson
Sam Young, Mike Cook, Tyrell Biggs, Levance Fields, Ronald Ramon
Corey Bingham gets his first career start for UT. Unlike in the days of Aaron Gray, Pitt doesn t play anyone over 6-foot-8 and no one taller than 6-7 starts. Coach Stan Joplin must want to play the matchups.
Freshman DeJuan Blair, Pitt s second-leading scorer, is not in the starting lineup, Biggs replacing him. Word is Blair was a little bit late because of a family issue so Biggs gets his first career start.
Pitt has a football game just 75 miles away in West Virginia but the student section is looking pretty animated. They have matching T-shirts too.
If the Rockets can avoid the tough first half they ve become accustomed to this season, they can make a game out of it.
I ll check back at halftime.
Halftime Pitt 34, UT 28
Pitt just took its largest lead of the game on a bonehead play, but one that can happen when Tyrone Kent is forced to play so many minutes. UT held the ball to take the last shot, and Kent missed a 3 with six seconds left. Levance Fields then threw a wild alley oop pass to Sam Young to end the half and Kent fouled Young with .3 seconds left. Young made both free throws.
But it doesn t erase the positive effort the Rockets gave in the first. UT hit four straight 3-pointers to take a 12-4 lead, which was the biggest deficit Pitt had faced so far this season.
Kent is showing his improved floor vision with five assists. Corey Bingham played well, but now there s not anyone to give a spark off the bench with defense.
The Rockets got a little tired at about the eight minute mark and Pitt had three straight baskets on putbacks, the second one coming after two offensive rebounds.
DeJuan Blair played, and he looks like a tight end or defensive lineman. He tired out Jerrah Young, who also played the entire first half along with Kent.
If the Rockets can make the same kind of halftime adjustments they made against UNC-Wilmington to get the ball inside more, they have a chance. They can t rely solely on jump-shooting.
Final Pitt 78, Toledo 52
The Rockets were exhausted in the second half. We were kind of dog-tired, Joplin said. All their jump shots were short and they couldn t pull down rebounds. Pitt had 14 offensive rebounds in the second half alone.
After UT made four of its first five 3 s, it missed 16 straight.
Pitt finished the game with a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio, with just seven turnovers.
Justin Anyijong hurt his back at the end of the game. He s in a little pain, Joplin said. With just two days between games it will be interesting to see if he plays Tuesday at Houston. Even though Anyijong hasn t been playing much, to be without any body is a big blow.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon thought that UT was probably tired because of its midweek trip to North Carolina and then having to come back East a day later.
Dixon also thought UT played better with its smaller lineup, and Joplin said that s probably what he ll go with in conference play.