Pitt defeated Delaware State on Wednesday night, 70-42. The Panthers improve to 10-0 on the season. Dante Taylor led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. The 14 points is a career-high.
Brad Wanamaker chipped in eight points and a game-high six assists. J.J. Moore came up in double figures with 10 points also.
"A good all-around performance by us," head coach Jamie Dixon said. "I thought we really came out and did what we had to do against a team we knew we was going to be very patient and try to run their stuff, and try to rely on some penetration from their guards. We anticipate they'll be the best team in their conference, and an NCAA Tournament team."
Pitt turned the ball over just five times for the game, while outrebounding the Hornets 41-19. Again, the play of Taylor was big for Pitt, who has scored in double-figures in three of the last four games for Pitt.
"It felt good, it felt to get a career-high (14 points), but I know I have to get ready for the next game against Tennessee," Taylor said."
Delaware State kept it close early, with the score tied at 7-7 just four and a half minutes into the game. Pitt responded with a 13-0 run, and taking a 34-19 halftime lead. The key for Pitt, just like it was against Duquesne and Rider--two fierce three-point shooting teams--was to cut down the three-point shooting. An NBA-range three-pointer from Delaware State's Desi Washington gave the Panthers an early wakeup call.
"We definitely talked at the media timeout," Taylor said. "Coach (Dixon) talked to us. They went out and got some threes. He just told us to get our hands out. WE knew they were a three-point shooting team. We just came back out there, played aggressive; high hands on the on the catch, the reason we were able to make the run."
Pitt went on to outscore the Hornets 36-23 in the second half, while holding them to just 32.6% shooting (14-of-43) for the game.
Though Moore scored in double-figures for the Panthers, he was also a big part of Pitt's defensive effort on Wednesday night, coming up with a team-best two steals, and pushing transition when he was in. He bought into Dixon's philosophy in defending the three, but has also been playing with a defense-first mentality, which has resulted in him seeing a lot of early minutes this season.
"Coach always emphasizes keeping high hands on shooters, and that's what he siad; don't let anybody shoot over you," Moore said. "(Washington) had a deep shot on Brad (Wanamaker), but (Dixon) said there's nothing we can do--just keep your hands up, and that's what we did throughout the whole game.
"(Dixon) always told me to focus on my defense, and in practice, I've been focusing on my defense and playing hard; just trying to earn trust in (Dixon) and hopefully keep getting minutes that I'm getting now."
Pitt returns to action on Saturday for its second game in as many weeks at the Consol Energy Center, as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC/Big East Invitational. Tip-off is set for 3:15 pm.