Pitt flexed its muscle in the transition game, and was efficient from three-point range, in a 86-51 win over Fordham on Monday night.
The Panthers will take on the winner of the Robert Morris-Lehigh game tomorrow at 9 pm. This is all part of the Preseason NIT Tip-Off. The winner of tomorrow njght's late game will head to New York City to continue with the preseason tournament.
"I thought all-in-all, we continued to play hard," head coach Jamie Dixon said. "I thought unselfishness was evident all the way through."
J.J. Moore came off the bench to lead Pitt with 20 points. Travon Woodall also finished in double figures with 12 points. Steven Adams finished in double figures for the first time in his career with 13points.
"I thought they did a good job," Adams said, of his teammates feeding him the ball. "That's how I got my points."
Moore continues to shine in his new role, playing the four and coming off the bench. His 20 points--one point shy of tying a career-high--came in 19 total minutes of play. Dixon compared it to Sam Young making the move during his junior year in 2008.
"I told him in the offseason, this is where Sam had his breakout year," Dixon said. "It creates matchup problems. I think we really have something there we can cause some problems with."
Panthers also did a good job spreading the ball around. Four players had at least 3 assists. Lamar Patterson led the way with 6 assists, followed by Woodall with 5.
Pitt jumped out to a 37-18 lead at halftime. The closest Fordham got was a 16-15 deficit in the first half, thanks to consecutive three-pointers from Jermaine Myers and Bryan Smith.
Moore answered with his second three of the game, and Pitt was able to get back up 21-15 with 7:45 left in the first half.
Things only picked up for Pitt in the second half. A 21-3 run blew the game wide open. Fordham didn't even cross the 30-point barrier until there were 10 minutes left in the game.
Defense and transition factored in as well. Pitt held Fordham to 26 percent shooting in the first half and scored 28 points off turnovers; something that has been a focus in the early part of the season.
"The guards want to get up and pressure a little more because we got big guys inside that can alter shots," Woodall added. "We just want to make sure we go out and pressure the ball and try to force more turnovers. As you can see, we're just trying to take advantage of it."
During the game, news broke that sophomore guard John Johnson has decided to leave the program. Johnson did not at in the opener, but also fell behind Trey Zeigler and James Robinson--two guards who were not on last year's team when Johnson played in all 39 games. Woodall and Dixon commented on Johnson's departure after the game.
"I've been here for awhile, and I've seen a lot of things, and I knew Pitt is not for everybody," Woodall said. "Not necessarily in a negative sense. Pitt isn't for everybody. Some guys like it here, but just don't feel comfortable here as the years go on, but it's just not for everybody."
"We wish him the best," Dixon added. "I talked to him a lot over the last couple days. We're going to help him out; help him find the best place for him down the road."