Pitt's Frontcourt Plows UConn, Thabeet

Coming into the Pitt-UConn game, the main event was Pitt's DeJuan Blair against UConn's Hasheem Thabeet -- the rebounding machine against the blocking bully. ESPN's Jay Bilas put it this way after the game, "if this were a fight, they would have called it early." Blair took it right at Thabeet the entire time and led Pitt to a 76-68 win in Hartford.

Hasheem Thabeet was held to only five points, four rebounds and just two blocks. He fouled out in the final minutes and was limited to only 23 minutes because he was overwhelmed by Blair. Pitt's big man finished with 22 points and 23 rebounds. It was his second 20-20 game of the season. The Pitt frontcourt duo of Blair and Sam Young dominated UConn with a combined 47 points on 18-of-30 shooting along with 70 percent from the free throw line.

UConn's frontcourt had no answer for Pitt. The tone was set early when Blair snagged a rebound and Thabeet went over the back trying to get it. Instead, Blair had both hands on the ball, Thabeet's arm was pinned and when Blair yanked, he flipped the 7-foot-3 Thabeet right over his back.

The Panthers outrebounded the Huskies 43-to-30. Pitt had no fear about going into the paint against UConn. Even with UConn getting plenty of blocks, Pitt kept going inside and attacking. UConn seemed ill-prepared for a team not to be discouraged by the blocks.

What kept UConn in the game was their guard play. A.J. Price and Kemba Walker combined for 31 points, and even got the Huskies a a lead late in the game. They were faster and able to penetrate and score. They also shut down Pitt's guards for most of the game.

Late in the game, though, it became clear that the UConn guards were getting tired. Losing Jerome Dyson took a toll on their depth and they were having more trouble getting through screens. That freed up Jermaine Dixon and then Levance Fields twice to drain big threes to give Pitt the lead they never relinquished.

It was a huge win for Pitt. The first time in four tries they have beaten UConn when the Huskies were ranked No. 1. It was also the first time they have ever beaten the top-ranked team in fourteen tries. The rematch between the two teams to end the season should be fantastic.

Pitt's Frontcourt Plows UConn, Thabeet originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Mon, 16 Feb 2009 21:54:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Copyright FANHO - FanHouse
Contact Us