Monday, December 1, 2008

Guest Contributor: Ray Floriani on The Legends Classic

By Ray Floriani

NEWARK - Pitt knocked off Texas Tech and Washington State to win the Legends Classic championship. A few press row observations from the final against Washington State at the Prudential Center. Pick your poison. Pitt has the athleticism to get out on the break and they have enough muscle to wear you down in a half court battle. The Cougars of the Pac 10 prefer the latter. Coach Tony Bennett prefers a half court game. Pitt obliged and beat them at it. And the Panthers did it with outstanding defense and consistency. A look at the two halves.

Half : 26-23 Pitt

Washington St.82
(28 possessions)
Game : 57-43 Pitt.

Washinton St.73
(59 possessions)

Washington State had 15 turnovers. As Bennett noted in the style they play that is huge. The State TO rate was a whopping and poor 31 %. In addition those turnovers led to 17 Panther points. On the other end, Pitt valued the basketball with a 14% TO rate.

To little surprise, the Panthers owned the offensive rebound percentage category with a 32 to 21 % edge.

Washington State had a 42 to 32% advantage in effective field goal percentage. Those aforementioned turnovers though, were crucial. The Cougars had 17 field goals but 6 were from beyond the arc. From two point range , Washington State shot 11 of 30 for 37%. Another testimony to Pitt’s inside strength with the likes of Tyrell Biggs (8 points 3 rebounds) and DeJuan Blair (7 points and 10 boards). Sam Young, the tournament MVP with a game high 15 points and 8 rebounds has the ability and did do damage in the paint and on the perimeter.

"We battled the first half and then didn’t score. They wear you down physically like UCLA. We were thoroughly outplayed the second half." -- Washington State Coach Tony Bennett.

Stat that jumped off the page...From Texas Tech’s 77-73 consolation win over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs rejected 9 Tech shots. Texas Tech attempted 42 two pointers so the State block rate was an incredible 21%.

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