This streak was going to end at some point, unfortunately for the Panthers it was tonight that they would fall in a home opener for the first time since Ben Howland was coaching here. Montana was led by Michael Oguine who would dominate finishing with 29 points. Pitt would stay close and tie it late at 73, but Montana would make key shots in overtime and would beat Pitt at home by the final score of 83-78.
So far this season, Pitt has been very close in two games drawing close down the stretch at Navy, and carrying a lead late in this game. But it takes time for young teams to learn how to close out games and that is what we are seeing right now.
Defensively, this team is a work in progress as both Rorie and Oguine torched the Panthers. Offensively, this Panthers team has a lot of fight and they also have guys that can shoot. This ended up being a fun game to watch as Pitt shot 45% and converted from both in the paint and away from the hoop. They were very balanced.
Shamiel Stevenson was ejected late in the Navy Game, so he did not start tonight. He came off the Bench 5 minutes into the game. He led all Panthers with 19 points. He was 1-1 from three and pitched in at every turn. Although he went 4-8 from the line which is something the young freshman needs to work on. He played 33 minutes including the overtime period.
Jared Wilson-Frame is as consistent a player as Pitt has had in recent years. He actually could be the most talented player Pitt has had in 5 years. He scored 15 points, playing 39 minutes and was once again solid on both sides of the court. I realize that Pitt has had some real talent recently, but this Junior is doing a lot on the court surrounded by Freshman at nearly every position.
Pitt shot 75% as a team from the free throw line which is a step in the right direction from game 1. The idea is to get better every game and I believe that is just what they did tonight although they will not see it in the win column.
Once again, Luther was slow in the first half but would ignite in the second and finish with 18 points. He would foul out late in overtime going after rebound. It was a desperate play, and he looked winded.
Montana took the lead in overtime late, and once again Pitt was looking for that player to step forward and for the second straight game, they did not get it. They did get a big play in regulation to tie it, but that big play did not come in the overtime period.
Montana had a couple of very quick players and I am anxious to see how they progress this season because they looked like they could be pretty solid this season.
Pitt will play Wednesday at home still looking for their first win of the season against UC Santa Barbara.