No. 5/5 Pittsburgh 89, Marquette 81

In the run-up to Saturday's game, much was made of Pittsburgh's offensive prowess here at the Anonymous Eagle, by the boys over at Cracked Sidewalks and from beat writer supreme Todd Rosiak.  Those concerns were validated as Pittsburgh eviscerated Marquette's defense en route to a convincing 89-81 victory.  Pitt mauled MU with a combination of scalding shooting, great inside-out action and a blizzard of screens all aided by a leaky Marquette defense.  Pitt's eFG% was a whopping 70% and they scored a stupid 1.44 points per possession.   Pitt's eFG% was far and away their highest of the year and the points per possession number puts us in the same category with Illinois-Chicago and Maryland-Eastern Shore and behind such luminaries as North Florida, American and Robert Morris.

Both teams were actually even at 24 when Jae Crowder picked up his second foul at the 8-minute mark.  Over the next 7 minutes, Pitt reeled off a 24-8 run to build an insurmountable 16-point lead.  MU scored the last 5 points of the half to cut the lead to 11, but the damage was done.

The second half was a seesaw affair and Marquette was able to close the gap to 8 on several occasions, but never really threatened Pitt.  Outside of turning the ball over on five straight possessions in the second half, Pitt was able to efficiently score to keep MU at bay.

Pitt was lead by Ashton Gibbs' 19 points on 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc.  Brad Wanamaker added 15 and Gilbert Brown dropped 14 with 7 rips.  Marquette was lead by Darius Johnson-Odom's 20 points, 19 from Buycks and 17 from Jimmy Butler.

Notables:

  • Marquette took ridiculous care of the ball on Saturday with an astounding two turnovers, both in the second half.  Some of this can be attributed to Pitt's conservative defensive style, but still, two turnovers is quite impressive
  • Marquette's eFG% of 46.9% was the lowest in any game this year except for the Gonzaga game.  Despite that, the points per possession was a silly 1.31, which is higher than any game outside of TAMU-CC.  That's the power of not turning the ball over and hitting FTs, folks
  • Dwight Buycks was good - more on him after the break
  • Darius Johnson-Odom came back down to earth with a tough shooting afternoon.  He was 1-6 from 3 and 8-18 total from the floor
  • MU again lost the rebounding battle 36-26.  MU had more offensive rips than Pitt (15-9) but that number is misleading since Pitt didn't miss shots.  Pitt's OR% was 45.8%, which is right in line with their 46.8% rate on the year and higher than against any other legit competition - Tennessee, Providence, UConn, Maryland and Texas.
  • Marquette played a 3-2 "zone" at times.  It was bad, let's move on
  • Pitt had 24 assists on 30 made field goals - wow!
  • Marquette went small throughout the second half.  Otule and Gardner were nowhere to be seen.  It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next couple of games

Just like in grade school soccer, the Anonymous Eagle hands out awards win or lose.  The trophy presentation is after the jump, but they are shin-guard free.

Jimmy Butler Player of the Game:  Dwight Buycks.  Welcome back Dwight!  After missing most of the Rutgers game after colliding with Devante Gardner in practice, Dwight Buycks registered a stellar performance on Saturday.  He poured in 19 points on Panther-esque 6-9 shooting and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game:  Joe Fulce.  Joe Fulce wins his namesake award with 7 points on 3-6 shooting.  Picking up 4 fouls in 13 minutes is also quite impressive.

Play of the Game:  I can't pick but both involve player of the game Dwight Buycks.  His buzzer beat three at the end of the first half or garbage time reverse lay-up were both impressive.  The lay-up had Rubie's entire disinterested house oohing and ahhing.

Up Next: Notre Dame on Monday at 6 pm.  Here come the Irish!  (retching sounds) It's always fun when ND comes to town.  ND is coming off a home win against media darling St John's.  The Irish will be a tough challenge as they defend better than in the past and are much more varied on offense than in the Harangody years.

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