Today Pitt plays the St Louis University Billikens.
The Billiken is a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator, Florence Pretz of Kansas City, Missouri, who is said to have seen the mysterious figure in a dream. It is believed that Pretz found the name Billiken in Bliss Carman’s 1896 poem Mr. Moon: A Song Of The Little People.
Lets go Pitt!

107 thoughts on “Pitt Basketball: Pitt – St. Louis Open Game Thread

  1. Thanks Maestro!

    Pitt is holding their own against a much more experienced team so far. D is aggressive – they are standing in and taking charges.

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  2. Listening to game, sounds like
    1) T Brown is holding his own
    2) Toney is pretty athletic
    3) Pitt needs to improve FT shooting
    4) Pitt not backing down

    5 point lead is impressive – keep it up

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  3. Nice first half. Pitt getting to hoop and going to line. Terrible ft shooting. St. L tried to physically take it to the early, held our own. McGowens shortcomings being exposed. He had trouble going to hoop, handling when pressured. Not sure what to do with a 2 who can’t shoot. Should be up double digits if we could make ft s.

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    1. I would sit him for N’Dir. Let N’Dir & Xavier play together. I guess Capel wants to develop McGowens for later in the season like Kentucky takes their lumps with their new stars early.

      They should give McGowens less minutes to Wilson-Frame too.

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  4. Brown, Frame and Chukwuka all benefitting from better coaching.
    All the new guys know how to get to the net. Know how to get fouled too.
    Playing strong defense.
    Makes you sick what Barnes and Stallings did to Pitt..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The team is radiating Attitude. HCC is showing that defense didn’t die with the old Big East. Different style but still hard nosed and tough.

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  6. Not sure how this game, let alone the season will turn out, but what a difference. Not just jacking up 3s, getting to the hoop, and being able to stay in front of your man, cutting off easy drives to the hoop. It’s really nice to see. Now, that said, let’s see what happens when they make some halftime adjustments to what we’re doing. Fun!

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  7. If any of you guys are interested in doing post-game analysis for basketball games, shoot me a note at pittpov.mm@gmail.com. I don’t have time for both football and basketball, so focusing on football for now.

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  8. Nice to see Brown getting a lot of minutes. His game is improving every time out. Missing some bunnies, touch a bit too hard but that is coachable. He does need to work on his hands. But overall is giving Pitt some much needed size in the middle – watching him improve is going to be fun.

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  9. Brown will be a star in the coming year. Only Stallings player I wanted to keep.

    We’re about to see what kind of physical shape Pitt is in.

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  10. Johnson is sure Xciting, but has to round out his game. Lots, and I means lots to like, but 1 assist from your point guard isn’t what I want. He’ll learn.

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  11. Ya, StL looks like they are around 30 and our guys like 18. Really good game to have these guys learn from. Would be nice to pull it out, but you can almost see what’s gonna happen. Hope not.

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  12. I have not said this in a long time.
    Pitt completely out coached StL in the last two minutes. Folks WE HAVE A BASKETBALL TEAM.

    What a terrific performance w great intensity and D. X Man is the real deal. H2P!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Coaching!! What a great job, players, coaches. I haven’t enjoyed a game this much in two years. Johnson was amazing. Any criticism would be nit picking. Clutch. And this was a pretty darn good team they beat. Man, if I’m a big, I want to play with these guys! Now get McGowens head on and you’ll have something! H2P.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Solid performance. A little shaky with their single F french. Our FFrench, one upped him!

    I had a bad Gilbert Brown flashback when they were on the line. Nice move to pull the big guys out and let it play out for the last 0.3 secs.

    Great win guys!

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  15. How many games did Jamie losefor Pittin the last two minutes with his stubbornness and lack of relying on the opinions of asst coaches! Capel got every asst. coaches opinion, setup strategy, and the team executed it perfectly.

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  16. Not sure if Luther would have helped as much as you think. Slow lateral movement, could have been weak link defensively. This team can move, getting an athletic big is a must to fit in with what they want to do. I’m serious, if u are a big, how can’t your coach and parents say “ look at Pitt” ?

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  17. Moxie.

    This team is going to surprise a few ACC opponents this year. Best coaching job I’ve watched in a long time. The young men were well prepared, kept their heads in a chippy atmosphere and dictated the game play when it counted. It was great to see HCC teaching, not just coaching, in the huddles during timeouts.

    X-man was something special. Not a lot of assists, but instead he made plays. I’ll take n athletic playmaking point guard over an assist specialist anytime in this style of offense. Been a while since we have seen that at Pitt going back to before James Robinson. The assist will be there – creating shots is a much more difficult skill in my book.

    Our ‘bigs’ were outclassed today – Brown was slow rotating over several times and several players were burned by not blocking out. Rebounding is going to be an obstacle that must be dealt with this year – today showed the coaches are aware of this and are working with the players on tactics to overcome it.

    N’Dir is turning out to be a good pickup – if he can play at a high level for 6-12 minutes a game consistently it is like finding money in the couch.

    The zone they played the last quarter of the game was not the best by any stretch of mind, but it was a well timed change of pace and made St. Louis a bit nervous – it was effective enough to throw them off their game. Again great coaching.

    Biggest factor imho was Swagger and Attitude. Pitt played with both for 40 minutes and never let up. They acted like they owned the gym, took the Billiken’s best punch and threw it back in their faces.

    Very exciting start to the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend.

    On to Victory Saturday.

    H2P

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Amen, Tommy. They showed they could take a punch. It’s not that I think X can’t dish, he just hasn’t shown it yet. With ACC level bigs he’ll have to because they’ll be waiting for him. Not too worried, he’ll do just fine, and the coaches will be telling him the same. We will get smacked on the boards, can’t have it all the first year. Still want to see how they respond to a press, as I thought they were a little shaky a couple games ago when even token pressure was applied. Iowa should be interesting, can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There better be a few more fannies in the seats at the Pete in the upcoming games…this team is FUN to watch. If you are any kind of BBall fan you owe it to yourself to go out and see them in person at least once.

      The City Game at PPG is going to be quite the event this year, HC Jeff Capel’s ‘Coming Out’ Party, at least for the casual Pittsburgh sports fan, can’t wait.

      H2P

      Liked by 4 people

  19. Excellent win today, but I think it exposed some weaknesses they need to work on. X-man takes it to the rim a bit too often, which is why he has so few assists. The blocking out is bad, and they are getting killed on the offensive glass. And what is wrong with Wilson-Frame? He was not looking for shots today, and when his 3 game is off he is just an average player. If he isn’t scoring he isn’t helping. But the improvement in coaching is substantial, and the coaches will hopefully improve the game of Brown and the other bigs. X-man needs to look for open guys more instead of driving on a taller team.

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    1. He was double teamed all day. They thought that if they could take out the one experienced guy the youngsters would fold. Haha….guess again…

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    2. Assists will come. I had no issues with the decisions X-Man made today. Vewry mature for a freshman, but still a freshman. However I believe that assists not quite as important in an up tempo half court O (unlike JD’s deliberate style) IF the PG is athletic and can create shots. Several of the other players are showing they are very good passers, so X-Man can concentrate more on creating shots.

      I thought Frame played a good game today on the D end – in fact the whole team did. Very few lapses, and they kept St Lu from building up any kind of a long scoring run. Not even close.

      Agree rebounding is going to be the biggest challenge facing this team; but the coaches are well aware of this fact and seem to be ‘capel-ble’ of coming up with answers. Not the best answers, but considering what they have to work with they are doing very well.

      H2P

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    3. Little hard on X-man aren’t we. Finding fault with 20 points, on near 50% shooting and near 90% FT at 7 for 8 is not The Voice of Reason I know. He didn’t have many assists because the rest of the team shot below 40% fg.

      And we all knew this undersized team is going to have problems on the glass. St Louis wasn’t chumps

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  20. Jeff Capel@jeffcapel
    48ml
    HAIL yes! So proud of our team! What a great “road” win against a very tough opponent! Love how we are growing and learning how to win these types of games! #ZooEra #H2P

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Hope you are right, Jack. But I don’t think they can win consistently without Wilson-Frame’s three point shot. McGowens seems to be getting fewer minutes as the competition increases. Despite his obvious talents, not sure he is quite ready for ACC level competition.

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    1. I wouldn’t be too alarmed with McGowans just yet especially when compared to Johnson.. A player like Xavier is the exception and not the rule.

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    2. We won today, that’s all that matters. Outside shooters like Frame are going to be hot and cold.

      And McGowens will be just fine. He has another 5 weeks before we get to the ACC.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. St.L is a very good team.They play good d. W-F was deliberately taken away. They played great D on him. Think teams will pay much more attention to X in future, so then kickouts to WF will occur. Ellison was one guy who did what he should have on X penetration. Tomey is going to be reall good. Gets overlooked somewhat, but I love his game. Do not sleep on that kid. McGowens found out what it’s like to have an older kid on you who’s just as quick. Maybe he was sick, maybe not, but take away his penetration and he has nothing on the o end. Needs a lot of work to be an effective 2 guard.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Agreed, Joe. Ellison doesn’t seem to have an outside shot either. They need some outside threats to keep the defense from taking away the drives and inside game. I like Toney as well. It seems their game plan today was to crash the rim and draw fouls, but they need to do better on the line.

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  24. Very good win for Capel’s Crew. The Billikens were in NYC waiting for the Panthers. Since they played Seton Hall the other night and beat them.

    To beat a very experienced senior laden team that was bigger than us, one that is picked to win the A-10, is something I really didn’t expect.

    X-man scored it seemed after every Pitt timeout and already is Pitt’s best player !

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  25. Btw, we all used to complain that Pitt didn’t drive to the rim often enough. Settling for outside shots, which usually killed us come Tourney time, since we never were that good of a shooting team.

    Driving to the rim does several things. It gets you on the charity stripe for Free Throws and it gets the other team in foul trouble. And it also energizes you more, as you’re certainly more involved in the game and helps your defense. St Louis had 12 turnovers today, Pitt won that battle and the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. @Emel – comment on driving to the rim. Driving to the rim also means you are the aggressor and also gives you the confidence that you can beat your defender. The mental premise is that you are either going to get fouled or beat him physically. Both of those are very good results…..unless you are Shaq like on the charity stripe.

    75% from the line is a pretty good standard. 80% in the last two minutes of a half and game is really good. So if you can’t shoot the freebie’s well, you should halt the penetration. This will be an interesting year from a bball perspective. Looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. One last comment on this solid victory. St. Louis was missing one of their stars for the first half which may have allowed Pitt to gain some confidence with our guard play. We had the three man weave rockin….

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  28. Taking it to the hole too much? No freaking way. We’ve been missing that at Pitt this entire century. Haha. Keep taking it to the hole, young man. Assists will come when the rest of the team doesn’t shoot 30% from the field. Haha. We’ve been wishing for a penetrator for as long as I can remember. Now that we got one, I don’t want to see him let up. X marks the spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Looks Lyke Pitt basketball has their own version of the Ffrench Connection –

    Xavier
    Malik
    Au’Diese
    Trey
    Sidy

    Great win for this young team over St. Louis yesterday. Most of us were at work, but…

    Beat Iowa next week, crush the canes in FB this Saturday and our Pitt Panther’s could have both teams ranked for the first time since Dixon/Wannstadt.

    I’m truly thankful that Barnes and Stallings no longer lurk the halls of our fine university.

    H2P!

    Like

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