Pitt Notebook: Brown's game: On or off today?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MILWAUKEE -- Today is Sunday, but maybe there is some way for Pitt coach Jamie Dixon to convince Gilbert Brown that it's still Friday. Or March 6. Or February 27. Or ...

Brown had his predictable double-figure scoring game after scoring in single digits against Notre Dame in the Big East Conference tournament. Brown notched 17 points in Pitt's NCAA first-round victory Friday against Oakland at Bradley Center.

Now comes the hard part. Getting the mercurial Brown to be an offensive force again today against Xavier.

Brown's inconsistency has been well-documented, but it is worth noting again. He has see-sawed from double figures to single digits for the past 13 games.

Here are his scoring numbers for those 13 games: 25-0-23-6-16-5-16-3-13-0-19-3-17.

"You know, it plays in my mind a little bit, I guess you could say because if you look at the statistics one game is big and one game is not so big scoring-wise," Brown said. "But I think the main focus is my effort and the consistency of playing hard. My main objective is to go out there and give my team 100 percent and be able to contribute to a win."

Brown's teammates know his playing well today is important if the Panthers want to advance.

"That's very important for Gil to play good," junior center Gary McGhee said. "I think he's ready to step up to the challenge. We need him for this tournament."

Brown was 6 for 11 from the field, 2 for 3 from 3-point range against Oakland. He also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers in an efficient 19 minutes.

"When Gilbert plays like that we're pretty much an unstoppable team," McGhee said. "When he's attacking the glass, driving, hitting 3s ... he did it all [Friday]."

[HIGH-LIGHT]Gibbs still confident[/HIGH-LIGHT]

Sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs has gone through shooting slumps before, so he knows how to handle the ups and downs that come along with it. Gibbs, Pitt's leading scorer, knows sooner or later that his shots will start to fall. He is just hoping the slump comes to an end today against Xavier. Gibbs is 3 for 11 from the field and has scored just 11 points in the past two games. He was 1 for 7 from the field and scored seven points in Pitt's opening-round victory against Oakland and was the only starter not to reach double figures.

"My shot still feels all right," said Gibbs, Pitt's leading scorer who is averaging 15.6 points per game. "I'm going to keep shooting. That's something shooters do."

[HIGH-LIGHT]Sweet would be sweeter[/HIGH-LIGHT]

Advancing to the Sweet 16 has become commonplace for Pitt in the past decade. The Panthers are aiming to make it to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in the past nine years. But for this team of which so little was expected a victory today would be extra sweet. The Panthers had to listen to the chatter in the offseason about losing four starters and how the team was going to have to go through a major rebuilding year.