Big Lead Sports Bar

2/16/2009

DEJUAN BLAIR



That name says it all in the wake of #4 Pitt's 76-68 win over #1 UConn on Monday night. Blair was everywhere, racking up 22 points and 23 rebounds in the Panthers' first victory over a #1-ranked team in school history. It was a performance for the ages.

Given the scores of pro scouts in the stands, this game could've literally made Blair millions of dollars. The key was his ability to stay out of foul trouble (with only two), an aspect of the game that eluded UConn's highly-touted Hasheem Thabeet, the 7'3" giant who fouled out with just five points and four rebounds on 1-for-5 shooting.

Fouls were a touchy topic all night, with Pitt getting called for nine and UConn only two at one point in the game. The announcing team of Jay Bilas and Bill "Smell Those Onions" Raftery hinted at over-officiating in the game and likewise in the conference this year, and I could see where they would say that. This game surely would've had a different outcome had Blair's 22 and 23 been neutralized by quick whistles. Luckily, things didn't play out that way.

Although they led for most of the game, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Panthers. Their guard shooting was off-the-charts bad; Levance Fields was 2-10, Jermaine Dixon 3-8, Brad Wanamaker 0-6, Ashton Gibbs 0-2, and Gilbert Brown (technically a G/F) 0-5. That's 5-for-31, a whopping 16%.

The Levance Fields turnover-to-assist ratio finally slowed down, as it was a much more down-to-earth 5 assists/4 TOs. It wasn't Fields' finest game, but he did bury some big shots during crunch time that were crucial to the victory. He scored all of his 10 points in the final 3:09 of the game. He saved the best for last, I suppose.

Sam Young was huge, adding 25 points that were considered quiet only because of Blair's fantastic performance. Like the announcers mused, this could be the year Pitt finally puts it all together and takes the next step in March.

I was pretty amped for this game and I'd say it thoroughly met all of my lofty expectations. It was tight throughout, with the trademark physicality that the Big East has become known for; Blair flipping Thabeet on his back, Blair getting an elbow in his face from Stanley Robinson....it was all par for the course. It was a highly enjoyable night of hoops.

Pitt now sits at 24-2, and 11-2 in the Big East, with five games left: home vs. DePaul, (8-18, 0-13) at Providence (16-9, 8-5), at Seton Hall (14-10, 5-7), home vs. Marquette (21-4, 10-2) , and to close, UConn (24-2, 12-2) at the Pete. Expect the growing stable of celebrities appearing at Pitt games to turn out for that one. No word yet on whether or not Skippy will be there, but I'm pretty sure Dejuan Blair will show up.

Send your news, tips, and links to Mondesishouse@gmail.com.

6 comments:

johnny said...

Tremendous victory for the Panthers. Let's beat down UClown at the Pete in a couple of weeks. HTP!

Matt H said...

PITT was great tonight.

Someone Somewhere said...

DeJuan Blair gives Pitt something they've been missing since the start of the Ben Howland/Jamie Dixon era: someone to feed the ball to when the shots aren't falling (granted Onterrio Lett and Chevy Troutman came -close-). Tonight was a game that Pitt normally loses. 5-31 shooting is absolutely dreadful...but when you can bang it down low and get points in the paint...that's what takes you to the next level. Blair just owned Thabeet, mere days after people were drooling over him. Living in Portland, I get to watch a lot of Greg Oden...and the guy just cannot stay out of foul trouble because he cannot grasp the defensive style that Blair uses so effectively. Namely, stand your ground and keep your arms up! He uses his body so well and is able to disrupt shots just by staying on his feet and keeping his arms in the air. Granted, this is a limited sampling as I don't get much Pitt basketball out here, but the guy is a great talent.

On that note, you have to think that Sam Young is going to find a spot on an NBA roster. He's a great defender, very athletic, and he can hit mid-range jumpers.

There is a lot to like about this Pitt team...but you only need to play one bad game in March and it doesn't matter how good you are.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

Pitt still doesn't impress me

signed,
Penn State Adam and Doug Gottlieb

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Doug Gottlieb can piss off.

Hail to Pitt!

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

Hail To Pitt indeed.

This is a special team.