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Jamie Dixon is fond of saying his team is among the lowest turnover teams in the country. The statistics back him up, but it’s only a matter of time before Dixon won’t be able to continue speaking those words if the Panthers continue to cough the ball up at their current rate.
The Panthers average 10.6 turnovers per game. That's third in the Big East behind Notre Dame and South Florida, which average 10.5 per game. They had been the best in the league all season until the past three games when they have been averaging 15.6 per game. They had 14 in the win at Providence, 18 in the win over DePaul and 15 more in the loss at Louisville.
Eleven of those 15 came in the first half against the Cardinals, who built a 12-point lead as a result. The Panthers mounted a comeback, but could never overtake the Cardinals.
“We’re a low turnover team,” Dixon said. “When you don’t do things well that you normally do well it changes the game for you. We’re one of the lowest turnovers teams in the country. We responded back and kept battling and made plays and had opportunities. The fouls shots caught up to us at the end.”
The Panthers have faced pressing teams in the past three games, but junior forward refuses to say the pressure defense is at the root of the problems. Rather, he said it’s the players that are speeding themselves up.
“We’ve been turning the ball over a lot lately and that’s not Pitt basketball,” Patterson said. “We have to get strong with the ball and make smart passes and not play careless.
“I don’t think it’s the press. We’re just speeding ourselves up. We have guys who are poised enough. l just feel like we’re speeding ourselves up and are careless.”
Whatever the reason for the turnovers the Panthers are going to have to be better Saturday against Syracuse, which is second only behind Louisville in forced turnovers per game. Orange opponents turn the ball over 17 times per game.
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