The Buffaloes were probably energized to be playing in warm weather for their NCAA Tournament second round. Unfortunately, the Panthers left them with the cold shoulder early and never let up.
Colorado needed nearly six minutes just to get on the board. By then Pittsburgh had already built a double-digit lead and never looked back, eventually opening up a 30-point margin and coasting to a 77-48 victory in the second round.
The Panthers’ Talib Zanna led the way with 16 of his 18 points in the first half and five rebounds. Pittsburgh did not need much more as Zanna had more field goal makes — six — in the first half than Colorado did as a team — five. That is not a recipe for victory.
The Buffaloes got a solid effort from sophomore forward Josh Scott, who finished with a team-high 14 points and six rebounds. But Colorado’s 17 turnovers fed the Pittsburgh offense allowing them to win easily.
Any time you start on a 13-0 run and can cruise to victory, you did something right. The Panthers dominated for the full 40 minutes and were never seriously challenged. The high assist numbers and the flow in which the Panthers played had to be encouraging for coach Jamie Dixon as the Panthers likely prepare to play the Gators in the third round.
Colorado senior guard Beau Gamble did hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to finish out his career. So that was nice for him, I guess.
Xs & Os
To try and slow down Colorado’s leading scorer, Josh Scott, and keep the ball from going to the post, Panthers coach Jamie Dixon elected to pressure Scott with double teams and get the ball out of his hands. The strategy worked as the Panthers were quick to get out of the double team and rotate back out to the perimeter. The rotations helped them get into passing lanes and create turnovers to help build their lead.
“You go into halftime down 28, there is not a lot you can say to your guys positively other than that you have to go out and compete. You shouldn’t have to ask your guys to do that. I was proud of our guys in the second half. We kept battling and battling. It just wasn’t our day.”
-Colorado coach Tad Boyle
“Just defense. We were trying to set a tone and energy. You coudl tell the energy was there, the focus was there. The first five minutes we played really good defense. From tehre we just tried to get a lot of stops, run the floor and get wide open layups.”
-Pittsburgh forward Talib Zanna
–Colorado did not score for the first 5:40 of the game when Wesley Gordon hit a 3-pointer. The Buffaloes trailed 13-0 and missed their only four shots in that time frame. It was definitely not the start the Buffaloes were looking for.
The Buffaloes trailed 46-18 at the half and did not have an assist while the Panthers recorded 13 assists on 18 first-half field goals.
–Pitt’s leading scorer Lamar Patterson did not score until the 8:08 mark in the first half on a 3-pointer. Patterson averaged 17.6 points per game. By the time Patterson scored his first points, the Panthers already led the Buffaloes 28-7. His fellow senior Talib Zana helped carry the offensive load with 16 first-half points.
–The loudest cheer of the game came from the Florida fans in attendance when the Amway Center scoreboard displayed the final score to Ohio State-Dayton. Many Gators fans have not lost any love for the Buckeyes and their football coach.