Sophomore reserve Cameron Wright proved to be a spark off the bench for Pitt in the first half of the 67-62 loss to Michigan Wednesday night. He scored eight points, was 3 for 3 from the field and 2 for 2 from 3-point range.
It was Wright who spearheaded a strong effort from the bench in the first 20 minutes, and the Panthers led 33-29 at halftime. In the second half, coach Jamie Dixon played Wright for one minute.
After playing 14 minutes in the first half, starting small forward Lamar Patterson played 17 minutes in the second half. Durand Johnson picked up three minutes and Wright was left with the scraps.
Patterson played his best game of the season. He led the team with 14 points. He also had 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
Patterson had to stay on the floor because he was playing so well in the second half. Pitt had 17 points in the first 18:46 of the second half. Patterson had nine of those points.
Can one make an argument that Wright deserved to get Johnson’s three minutes? Absolutely. That’s a fair criticism. But how much of an impact could Wright have made in four minutes than one?
If anything, the argument could be made that Wright should have received some of Tray Woodall’s minutes at shooting guard. Woodall was 2 for 7 from the field and had not been all that effective against the zone.
Wright, as mentioned earlier, was 2 for 2 from 3-point range in the first half. But Dixon played the percentages rather than the hot hand.
Woodall is a much better 3-point shooter over his career. Wright’s only two attempts from behind the arc on the season came in the first half, and he made only 16.7 percent (3 for 18) of his 3-point attempts last season as a freshman.
It’s hard to fault Dixon for going with his senior in that situation no matter how much he had been struggling. And Woodall did make the 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to make it a one-possession game.
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