Following a 63-47 win at St. John’s Sunday afternoon, Tray Woodall and Lamar Patterson were asked what practices had been like for the previous five days after losing to Notre Dame, its second loss in a three-day span that fans wondering about the state of the team.
Patterson and Woodall both shook their heads and sighed and then agreed the week's worth of practices leading up to the game were some of the most challenging of the season.
“There were a lot of hard practices,” Patterson said. “Coach was getting after us. That’s what we expect after two tough losses.”
The other loss was to Marquette and the two-game losing streak had some very identifiable problems. The most notable was rebounding. The Panthers had been taken to the woodshed by Notre Dame, which enjoyed a 15-rebound margin in its 51-42 win. Marquette held a 9-rebound edge in its 79-69 win over the Panthers.
Pitt did not win the rebounding battle against St. John’s, but the Panthers competed much harder than they had against the Irish and Golden Eagles. St. John’s held a 39-38 edge on the boards and slipped by the Panthers by virtue of two uncontested offensive rebounds on its final possession.
“That’s disappointing, but we’re going to get that fixed for next game,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.
Patterson said the emphasis in practice for the week leading up to the St. John’s game had been rebounding and that likely will not change after the Red Storm grabbed 15 offensive boards on Sunday.
“We did the block-out drill every day,” Patterson said. “Make sure we get a man. If we didn’t do it [Sunday] we were going to hear about it in practice.
“In all of our losses, coach gave us a number of negative-8 on the rebounding margin. Numbers don’t lie. When we win, we outrebound people. We didn’t do it today, but that was the emphasis.”
And will be again this Monday and Tuesday before South Florida visits the Petersen Events Center Wednesday night.
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