Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ireland 2010 -- Pittsburgh Downs English Nationa Team 82-69

The England National Team
Pittsburgh closed out it's 2010 Ireland Tour with an 82-69 win over the England National Team at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Saturday evening. The win marks a perfect 6-0 record for the Panthers who will return to the USA on Sunday. The Odessey Arena and Ireland Basketball publicized the two day, four game event as the 2010 Belfast International Basketball Classic, with the Pittsburgh squad described as the "NCAA USA Powerhouse" Pittsburgh University Panthers" billed as the headliner. Other teams participating included the Melbourne Tigers and the England National Team, Pitts' two opponents, with the Scottish National Team rounding out the field. Pitt's official athletic website carries wire story game recap which highlights some of the play-by-play, along with a scoring summary. The official boxscore (.pdf format) is also posted on the site. The scoring by quarters...

England National Team518143269

The Panthers decisively won the first quarter 25-5, jumping out to a 11-3 lead at the halfway mark of the quarter, cruising to the finish with a 14-2 run. England was stone cold from the field, converting at an 11.8% rate (2-17, 0-5, 2-12). Pitt continued their domination through the second quarter, 27-18, taking a 29 point lead (52-23) into the half. The English however, were beginning to find their range, improving their conversion rate to 45% (5-11, 1-3, 4-8). Having gathered themselves, England came out for the last two quarters and gave the Panthers a more competitive game. The Panthers found the English played them nearly even in the third quarter (16-14), the score close because the Panthers had difficulty converting their field goal attempts (6-22, 2-6, 4-16). The England Team shot at about the same accuracy as the second quarter (40% vs 45%), but failed to shave anything off of the Panthers' lead because Pittsburgh controlled the boards at both ends of the floor, simply cutting off second chance opportunities under England's basket, while (through offensive boards) giving themselves multiple opportunities to score. If the Panthers thought they could turn on the auto-pilot and cruise home, they were mistaken. Team England put on a furious, 32-14 blitz to cut the Panthers' edge to 13 before the final whistle. Taking three of the game's quarters, Pitt upped their "won quarter" mark to 20, taking 20 of the 24 quarters of basketball played on the tour. The 13 point margin of victory was the closest (for Pittsburgh) of the Tour. This game was played for just over 70 possessions (70.1), closer to Pittsburgh's comfort zone (60-65 roughly) of last season. The efficiencies and Oliver's four factors:

England National Team98.446.717.133.335.00.99

A glance at the Offensive Rating, 117.0, would leave the incurious reader with the impression this game was carried on an offensive outburst from Pitt, typical of the four games played in the south of Ireland. A closer look at the shooting and the confusion begins...a 42.7 eFG% is nothing to write home about, a lot of missed FGAs. A look over to the PPWS seems to confirm this was an off shooting night for the Panthers. Comparing Pitts' eFG% and PPWS to England's however should trigger a good round of head scratching. England shot better?! How did Pitt win (and by 13 points no less)? For the Panthers, a significant difference in turnovers was extremely helpful. In the 70 (or so) possession game, Pitt lost the ball only seven time, while England turned it over 12 times. Pitt converted possessions efficiently despite poor shooting by rebounding their misses, an awful lot of their misses. They were able to take that second (and third) shot with having the additional attempt tallied as a separate possession. A move very similar to the Georgetown teams in 2008. In the contest for 40 of those missed FGAs, Pitt won 15 times (typical would be about 10-12. More opportunities to score. The English had the best offensive night of any team facing Pitt in Ireland.

1. For the fifth straight game Coach Dixon used his entire squad, as all 14 players saw playing time. Continuing a trend initiated in virtually the second game of the tour, Coach Dixon opted to scramble his starting lineup. Tonight the back court consisted of rising junior Travon Woodall and rising senior Bradley Wannamaker. Freshman low post player JJ Richardson anchored the center, while rising junior Nasir Robinson and freshman Lamar Patterson played the #3 and #4 respectively.
2. The Woodall-Wannamaker tandem was effective logging a combined nine assists against a single turnover. Rising junior point Ashton Gibbs also posted five assists.
3. All 14 players took at least one FGA, and 12 managed to post at least a point. Gibbs, Woodall and redshirt freshman Talib Zanna co-tied with the team-high of 13 points. Those three were the only double digit scorers for Pittsburgh.
4. Only Dante Taylor picked up as many as four personals.

Travel back to Dublin and take another day to tour the sights. The team will return to the USA Monday, August 9.

No comments: