Pitt shot 27 percent in the first half against South Florida Wednesday night and still managed to hold a one-point lead at halftime. But when South Florida took an early lead in the second half Pitt coach Jamie Dixon had seen enough of his stagnant offense and threw caution to the wind.
Dixon instructed his players to freelance for the final 16 minutes of the game, and the results couldn’t have been better.
After falling behind, 30-28, with 16:06 remaining, the Panthers outscored the Bulls, 38-14, on their way to a 64-44 victory.
“It was just, ‘Play basketball,’” Dixon said of his message to his players. “It was more of a freelance type thing. Just getting ball moved from one side to the other. I just wanted them to play basketball. I don’t know if they felt confident in that initially. They saw the results and felt better about it. I thought we were too stationary and too easy to guard. It’s something we have done and can use going forward.”
Senior Tray Woodall said the last time he heard Dixon say those words was his freshman year. Dixon disputed that. He said he has done it more often than that. Whatever the case, the results were hard to overlook.
“It was different,” freshman point guard James Robinson said. “If he does call a play we have the option to break the play off and make the best basketball play. Tonight, we got into a rhythm. We went out there and had fun.”
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