COLLEGE PARK--Just because you took Pittsburgh out of the Big East doesn’t mean you can take the Big East out of Pittsburgh.
A first half plagued by an average of more than one foul call per minute of game time set the tone for the rest of the game, as Pitt pulled ahead by double digits early in the second half and stayed in control despite a late Maryland push in an 83-79 Terrapins loss Saturday evening at Comcast Center.
Fifth-year Pittsburgh senior Lamar Patterson paced Pittsburgh with 28 points. Jake Layman bounced back from the slump he had found himself in with 18 points.
More analysis below.
Pittsburgh 83, Maryland 79
HOT START, OFFENSIVE DROUGHTS
Maryland got out to one of its best starts of conference play, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor and leading 9-2 through the first 2:30. That included the apparent resurgence of sophomore Jake Layman, who had five of those first nine points
Perhaps the amount of fouls were to blame, but Maryland had long stretches of offensive ineptitude.
After keeping it close in the first half, the early part of the second half was what decided Saturday’s game. Maryland was within six points with 17:32 to play after a Seth Allen layup. But over the next seven possessions, the Terrapins scored one field goal, turned the ball over five times, and came away with four points.
By the 13:22 mark, Pittsburgh’s lead had ballooned to 12 points, 59-47. The Terrapins would play behind by double digits for much of that second half.
ONE LAST PUSH
Almost inexplicably, Maryland cut the Pittsburgh lead down to just five points, 79-74, with 1:19 to play. Pittsburgh would miss three of their next four free throws to keep it at a six-point game with under a minute to play, but Maryland was unable to claw back.
The lead would be cut to as little as three points with 5.4 seconds to play.
WELCOME TO THE BIG EAST
Just because Pittsburgh is now in the ACC doesn’t mean you can take the Big East game plan out of their system. The Panthers want to grind, get to the line, slow things down, and convert. They did that in the first half.
There were 22 fouls called through the first 20 minutes of game time, resulting in 17 Pittsburgh free throws. The Panthers hit 16 of those, which helped them to a 42-37 halftime lead.
Pittsburgh would end up shooting 46 free throws on the night, hitting 32 of them. Maryland shot 23-of-30 from the line.
LAMAR PATTERSON, TOO METHODICAL
Maryland could have used a player like Lamar Patterson. The fifth-year senior is measured, under control, and almost surgical when attacking the rim, picking his spots and never looking out of control.
He led the way for Pittsburgh with 28 points, including shooting 12-of-14 from the line.
DEZ WELLS, OFFENSIVE BRIGHT SPOT
Dez Wells had just six shots from the floor until toward the end of the second half, when he became more featured and help Maryland make a comeback push. He finished with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting.