PITTSBURGH — With just about eight minutes gone by in the first half of what eventually became a 68-54 Pitt win over Colgate at Petersen Events Center, Terrell Brown blocked a Will Rayman shot out of bounds.
A minute later, he got another one, this one off the hand of Colgate forward Malcolm Regisford. Then, another minute, another block, again from Rayman.
By the time the final horn had sounded, Brown had rejected the Raiders nine times and set a new all-time record at Pitt.
“I thought, especially in the first half, I thought he came in and really gave us a presence at both ends,” Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said. “He had seven of those nine in the first half.”
The previous Pitt record was seven blocks, which was reached 15 times, most recently by Gary McGhee in 2010. Charles Smith had seven games with seven blocks from 1986 to 1988. Brown’s pervious career high was six, set Jan. 27 against Syracuse.
Brown attributed the outburst to an increase in energy and a change in mental state fostered by assistant coaches Tim O’Toole and Jason Capel.
“Today, I just had energy,” Brown said. “I felt different. I think helped. … We have a lot of long talks, and it’s just constant, constant work. You can never be satisfied.”
That energy has been the thing that’s been the most difficult for Brown to show on a night-in, night-out basis thus far in a year a half of his college career.
“The big question about Terrell has always been his motor,” Jeff Capel said. “I didn’t know him. As we got to him, we’ve seen that he does want to become a better player. He wants to get better. He’s not afraid of the work. It’s just getting that motor revved up. He’s worked hard.”
For that reason, Brown’s record came in a game where he came off the bench, something that he’s done for all but one game this season. But he earned a playing time advantage, finishing with 27 minutes compared to 13 for starter Kene Chukwuka.
But it’s going to take more than one game of high-motor Terrell for Capel to hand him back the starter’s role, record-setting performance or not. He wouldn’t commit to a starter for Saturday’s ACC opener against North Carolina.
“We have a week before we play, so we’ll see,” he said.