Jeff Capel thinks his group has a probability to be good this season. From unique standouts to over-all group expansion, Pitt’s third-calendar year head coach has built a group that can be competitive every time it will take the court docket in an ACC sport.
But that does not mean the Panthers can get any opponent flippantly or permit up when they get a large lead, which was the case on Saturday night time, as Pitt dropped to 8-three over-all and 4-2 in the convention just after a 12-stage 2nd-50 percent lead turned into a a single-stage reduction to the earlier winless-in-league-play Deacons.
“We did not have the electrical power that’s demanded to have a probability to come to be a good group,” mentioned Capel.
The difficulty is, that quote was not from Saturday night’s reduction.
It was from the season-opening reduction to St. Francis (Pa.), when Pitt sleepwalked to an 80-70 defeat towards a group that has only won two games in the ten it has played because beating Pitt.
Which is to say, the difficulty is not new. In actuality, Capel was bemoaning his team’s deficiency of dependable electrical power a calendar year in the past, also, when the Panthers blew the momentum of a season-opening win towards Florida Condition with a reduction to Nicholls Condition a couple times afterwards.
“I’m very upset in us,” Capel mentioned that night time in November, 2019, “and when I say us, that’s our staff – definitely it begins with me – and our group. We did not have the electrical power that was deserving of successful in the course of the sport.”
In each of individuals cases, Pitt bounced back again. Just after getting rid of to Nicholls Condition, the Panthers beat every remaining nonconference opponent other than West Virginia. This calendar year, they responded to the St. Francis reduction by successful their next 5, together with the convention opener at Miami, just before getting rid of to Louisville in a sport that was played without having primary scorers Justin Champagnie and Au’Diese Toney.
And just after the Louisville reduction, Pitt put alongside one another a 3-sport successful streak: beating Syracuse in a household-and-household and then keeping off Duke at the Petersen Gatherings Middle on Tuesday night time.
That previous win designed some serious momentum for the method, which experienced a legit shot at breaking into the leading 25 – as very long as it did not have a letdown at Wake Forest. The Deacons experienced battled this season, but they were being nonetheless -6 in convention games moving into Saturday. If Pitt’s players approached that sport with the degree of electrical power they experienced for Duke, a win really should have been the anticipated result.
And early on, the Panthers did just that. Wake Forest sophomore forward Ismael Massoud was on fireplace in the very first 50 percent, hitting 5-of-5 from 3 to continue to keep the Deacons competitive, but Pitt was more than up to the obstacle. In the very first 50 percent, the Panthers shot 61.5% from the floor, strike 4-of-8 3-pointers, created all nine of their no cost throws and outrebounded Wake Forest fifteen-8 to get a seven-stage lead into halftime.
Pitt even pushed the lead to 12 in the 2nd 50 percent and seemed to be in command of the sport. But while the Deacons held draining three’s – they finished with fifteen on 32 makes an attempt – the Panthers fell off. They were being sloppy with the basketball, lacked the needed electrical power to defend beyond the arc and bought outrebounded in the last twenty minutes.
Ahead of it was more than, Wake Forest stretched its lead to ten, and when Pitt fought back again and Xavier Johnson experienced a shot at a sport-winner as time expired, the ball went off the rim and the Panthers bought the reduction they experienced gained more than the last 18 minutes of the sport.
“This sucks, the actuality that we carry out like this,” Capel mentioned just after the sport. “Not just the reduction but – and all over again, that’s not using something absent from Wake. They were being tremendous. They were being tremendous. But we weren’t deserving of successful. And even if that shot would have absent in, I would have felt that way. I would have been happier, but we weren’t deserving of successful by some of the things that we did.”
Now Pitt is still left wanting for answers all over again. The Panthers showed real assure and enhancement in beating Syracuse, Duke and Miami, and even in their reduction to Louisville. But the incapability to maintain a large degree of play – driven by the deficiency of electrical power and urgency that Capel has bemoaned quite a few moments more than the course of the previous two seasons – is a concern for a group with sufficient expertise to firmly be in the leading 50 percent of the convention.
“We have to be capable to tackle success like mature men and women and be hungry for more and not be contented and have an understanding of what it indicates to clearly show up every working day,” Capel mentioned. “The exact things I mentioned just after Duke. I talked about how we showed up – all people would like to question just after that sport, and it was two games in a row, what have you carried out? We’ve demonstrated up, we have experienced an edge, we have experienced that. And for the very first time in a very long time, we did not have it.”
Pitt will get a probability to bounce back again towards North Carolina on Tuesday night time at the Petersen Gatherings Middle.