Pitt improved to 7-0 on the season with a 82-58 win over Penn on . Ashton Gibbs led Pitt with 12 points, followed by Dante Taylor and J.J. Moore with 11. Gilbert Brown led Pitt with seven rebounds, followed by Brad Wanamaker with six. Penn's Miles Cartwright had a game-high 22 points in a losing effort.
"I like how we played today; I thought it was good for the entire game," head coach Jamie Dixon said afterwards. "We played a lot of guys that got a lot of minutes and a lot of different opportunities. I liked how we sustained it, for the most part, for 40 minutes. I'm very happy with how we played against a very good team."
The biggest factor in the game was Pitt's bench. With Taylor and Moore coming off the bench to be two of Pitt's top three scorers for the game, Pitt's bench outscored Pitt's starters 46-36. The bench only trailed Penn's entire point total by 12.
"With players like Dante and Traven (Woodall), and Nasir (Robinson) coming off the bench, it's like having starters already there," senior Brown said. "It's really beneficial for us to have these players on our team that have the capability to play deep like we can."
Pitt used an 18-3 run at the end of the first half to jump out to a 36-18 lead at halftime. Pitt jumped out to a 9-0 early. After Pitt's first score of the game--a jumper from Talib Zanna--the Pitt defense tightened up, forcing a shot clock violation on Penn's first possession. As a result, Penn coach Jerome Allen called a timeout, just 1:07 into the game.
After Pitt went on its 9-0 run to start the game, Penn clawed its way back--thanks in part to Cartwright--who came off the bench to lead the Quakers with seven points in the first half. A layup by Jack Eggleston trimmed Pitt's lead to 18-15 with 8:11 left in the first half. The Quakers came back with a 15-9 run.
"We got some stops," Allen said. "We got some rebounds. We were able to get out and run a little bit; move the ball and attack the defense when they had to make adjustments and shifts. That's when we're at our best. We have to attack on the move."
The Panthers, however, closed the half on an 18-3 run, and did not allow a Penn field goal during the final 6:45 of the first half. Pitt let the clock wind down on its final possession. Nasir Robinson went up for a layup, made it, and was fouled. Robinson completed the three-point play, putting Pitt up 36-18 with 3.5 seconds left in the first half. After he made the free throw, Dixon then called a timeout. It looked like Pitt was trying to set up a press, but with an 18-point lead, what would possibly worry the Panthers at this point?
"We just didn't want to give them the opportunity to score at the end of the half," Brown said of the timeout. "Just any type of momentum swing that can happen at any time, we were trying to prevent that. (Dixon) was just telling us to stay in the gaps to prevent any types of long passes to open up a shot."
Penn's Zack Rosen put up a desperation shot from half court, which fell short.
Penn got some early buckets in the second half, cutting it to a 42-28 deficit, just four minutes into the second half. Pitt then went on a 7-0 run over the next minute and a half, capped by a Gibbs three-pointer. Allen was forced to call timeout, with his team down by its greatest deficit of the game--21 points--just five minutes into the half.
On Pitt's next possession, Moore hit a three-pointer to put the Panthers up by 25; 54-29 with 13 minutes left in the game. The Panthers would lead by at least 20 for the rest of the game, and would even lead by as many as 31 down the stretch. Pitt's bench was too overwhelming for the Quakers to respond from.
Allen got a technical foul with 9:42 remaining in the game, with the frustration starting to mount. Conor Turley picked up a foul while defending on the play. Gibbs went to the line, making both of his attempts, as the Pitt lead grew to 62-33. Penn committed 19 fouls to Pitt's 15, but had a more sizable lead in the foul department in the first half; 12-4. Allen addressed the fouls after the game.
"We have a lot of respect for basketball, period," Allen said. "We fear no one. I just think that it's nature of it when you play on the road. I'm not saying the whistle will go in the home team's favor, but you have to anticipate things that you can't control. We usually just do a better job of not putting ourselves in that situation. They play in the Big East. That's physical basketball."
The only blip Pitt had in foul trouble was at the 13:25 mark of the second half. Robinson picked up his second foul of the game after Moore's three-pointer, which put Pitt up 52-28. Seconds later, while defending a drive, he picked up his third--with 13:25 left in the game. He did not return, as Pitt's lead was safe. Dixon praised Robinson for putting up nine points and four rebounds in just 14 minutes of work.
"I thought he played really well, his numbers are very good," Dixon said. "He played within himself; offensive rebounds, getting around the basket, pretty good defense for the most part against a really good player. Eggleston is a really good player. (Robinson) played really well."
Pitt returns to action Wednesday night in the annual City Game against Duquesne Tip-off is set for 9 pm, in what will be the first college basketball game ever to be played at the Consol Energy Center.