Ashton Gibbs has an MCL injury that will keep him out 10-14 days according to reports.
Gibbs just came off a 25 point performance against Cincinnati including making all 5 three pointers he shot. He is the Panthers leading scorer with 16.3 points per game. Not only is he the scoring leader, but much of the offense is dictated on him scoring from long range. Generally, if Gibbs plays well, Pittsburgh is tough to beat.
It shall be quite interesting to see how Pittsburgh manages this situation. Three of the next four games will be on the road against quality competition. Pittsburgh travels tonight to take on West Virginia. Then, they travel to Villanova to match up against a top 10 Wildcat team that usually gives the Panthers a problem at Villanova. Following that game, Pittsburgh will take on South Florida in Pittsburgh before traveling to St. Johns.
Travon Woodall will take the place of Gibbs in the starting lineup. He is capable of creating for himself and others offensively. When this kid is on, he is a great point guard and could play on a lot of teams in America. It is that consistency that head coach Jamie Dixon will be hoping for as Woodall is pressed on to center stage. His decision making will be crucial for the Panther’s upcoming success or lack thereof.
Sometimes when your best player is sidelined for some games, typically the first game will see players step up and fill the void. Obviously, this loss is huge to the Panthers coming down the stretch in the Big East. I think they have a shot of winning tonight, but they may struggle at Villanova and possibly St. Johns. Hopefully we will see Gibbs come back at St. Johns, but it might be a stretch.
Brad Wanamaker hasn’t been too involved in the past two games. He needs to be able to score, get people involved and not turn the ball over tonight to give his team a shot at winning. Also, Gary McGhee will have to have a double-double type of performance down low. Gilbert Brown is capable of putting up 20 plus points in any given game, but is also capable of having a 5 point performance.
The only shot for the Panthers tonight will be if all players play more than they are capable of. If they play well, they have a great chance of overcoming the Gibbs injury, but I honestly do not see that happening.
West Virginia- 70
About the Author
Written by Justin Welton
Born in Franklin, PA. Life-long Pittsburgh sports fan + Boston Celtics. Attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Working for WCUC - 91.7 and WCUB-TV. Clarion Call writer for two years.