Plenty of Pitt players were guilty of poor shot selection Monday night. Lamar Patterson passed up open 3-pointers to pass the ball to guarded teammates. J.J. Moore, Cameron Wright and others exhibited bad decision-making, too, in the 51-42 loss.
But two misses off the fingertips of Talib Zanna were most troubling for Pitt. The Panthers were not playing very well in the first half, but they still managed to hold a 19-3 lead because Notre Dame was playing so poorly.
Then Zanna took two ill-advised jumpers that led to a quick six points for the Irish and the game forever changed.
Pat Connaughton capitalized on the misses by burying two 3-pointers 51 seconds apart and cut the lead to 10, giving the Irish a much-needed boost of confidence.
Irish coach Mike Brey said afterward that sequence changed the complexion of the game.
Those two bad decisions allowed Notre Dame to get back in the game and highlighted Zanna’s recent struggles. He has no confidence with his game around the hoop, so he is settling for outside jumpers. Those shots aren't falling either and the player who led the team in scoring for most of the season is now a drag on the offense.
Zanna did not make a basket for only the second time this season and his long slump continued against the Irish. He has scored in double figures just once in the past 11 games. He has scored four points or fewer seven times in those 11 games.
Zanna is shooting 31 percent (20 for 65) from the field in that 11-game stretch.
“It’s something we’re well aware of," coach Jamie Dixon said. "It’s not for a lack of effort. He was getting big numbers for us early. He’s still going to the glass and playing hard. He doesn’t have that same rhythm. It’s not for a lack of effort. He’s playing hard in practice and in games.”
|< Prev||Next >|