Sunday, January 23, 2005

Pitt Respond with Big Second Half

I thought this game was over. Pitt was playing horrible, and was down by 15 with 18:30 to go in the game. I was disappointed and upset. Not only am I a Pitt fan (after Arizona of course), I hate UConn. And I mean hate. I grew up in western Mass a huge UMass Minuteman fan. When you are a fan of the Minuteman, you hate the Huskies. But then, something happened. That something was Chevon Troutman. Troutman poured in 25 of his 29 points in the second half as Pitt came back and ended up beating UConn in Storrs by 10. I was surprised, stunned, and thrilled all at the same time. Pitt had been resurrected from the dead in this game, and it was all due to their big man Chevon Troutman.

In the first half, UConn dominated the game. They had a lead of 11 at halftime, and Pitt was lucky the lead was not larger. UConn lead by as many as 17 in the first half as Rashad Anderson was nailing 3's from the outside. Rashad had been in a slump, but as Digger Phelps called it on the College Gameday pregame show, when he said that Rashad would break out in this game. UConn was also controlling the inside of the paint as well. Although Josh Boone and Rudy Gay both got in early foul trouble, Hilton Armstrong and Charlie Villanueva stepped in and played huge. Dick Vitale said during the broadcast that he thinks that UConn has the best frontcourt in all of basketball. With players like Boone, Villanueva, Gay, Armstrong, and Ed Nelson I cannot disagree with that statement. Even still UConn just lead by 11 at halftime with a 43-32 lead.

A few minutes into the second half, I almost changed the channel to see if there was another college basketball game on. Instead, a guy named Chevon forced me to not touch my remote controller. I cannot emphasize enough how much of an impact Chevon had on this game. Chevon is a senior and is used to playing UConn by now. He has played and been involved in the last three Big East Championship games, two of which have been won by UConn. This game would not be won by UConn and its all because of Chevon. With Pitt down 53-47, Chevon scored 11 straight points to put Pitt up 56-54, and they would never look back. Chevon was driving, rebounding, slashing to the hoop, and even hitting his fourth three pointer of the year in the second half. I have watched a lot of Pitt's games over Chevon's 4 year career and I think this is his best game he has ever played. In the end, Chevon had scored 29 points, grabbed 12 boards (7 on the offensive side), shot 10 of 18 from the floor, and 8 of 9 from the free throw line.

This was a huge win for Pitt after suffering losses to Bucknell and St. Johns earlier in the month. Jamie Dixon's team played with the type of intensity that Pitt fans have been accustomed to since Ben Howland was coaching the team. Although this was a great win for Pitt, they still have an extremely hard road ahead. They face 19-1 Syracuse this Saturday at home, and also have games against UConn, BC, and Syracuse all in February. One thing is for sure and this is if Troutman plays like he did last night, Hakim Warrick will have his hands full come this Saturday trying to guard him.


Matt






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