COLLEGE PARK--There came a point in Pittsburgh’s 83-79 win over Maryland on Saturday evening when Pittsburgh needed a basket. As the Terrapins made their push back, the Panthers went back to what worked, running a play in the half-court and getting a shot at the rim.
“I think somebody said, ‘Good call, Coach, on the play,’” Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon recalled after the game. “And...I had to yell back to them, ‘James called the play. That’s why we got the layup.’”
“James” is James Robinson, the Pittsburgh sophomore point guard and leader of the Panthers offense, a native of Maryland and product of the famed DeMatha Catholic (Md.) basketball program.
Though he didn’t have his best game in his return home--13 points, two assists and an uncharacteristic four turnovers--he paced a Pittsburgh offense that reached the 80-point mark and go to the line 44 times.
For context, his four turnovers were equal to the number of turnovers he had amassed in the previous seven games combined. Because of that, he came into the game ranking second in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio and was averaging under one turnover per game.
It was the second business trip back to the region for Robinson since coming to Pittsburgh, including a 73-45 win over Georgetown in January 2013.
This time, though, his team shot around at DeMatha, a fitting return to the place that helped him become a Top 100 recruit and put him on the path to Pittsburgh.
“The last thing he would think about is himself, so he would think about this is great and we’re trying to win a conference championship, which he won…during his time at DeMatha,” Dixon said.
“He’s special and, you know, he called a couple plays there. Again, He’s just got a great feel for the game and it’s good to have a point guard smarter than your coaches.”