Pittsburgh beats Alabama in opener 71-62

The Pitt Panthers basketball team kicked off the season with a 71-62 victory over Alabama in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Carl Krauser went back home to play in front of his home crowd and he didn't disappoint. Krauser was named Player of The Game after finishing with 21 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Chevon Troutman had a strong game inside and finished with 13 points despite being in foul trouble for most of the night. Jaron Brown finished with 12 points and played an all-around strong game. Toree Morris looks much improved this year and came up big all evening. He finished with 8 points and pulled down many key rebounds. Julius Page was playing on a bad ankle yet he stepped up and nailed a key three pointer late in the game to help the Panthers pull ahead for good. He finished the game with 7 points.

The game was hard fought and both teams went into the locker room with the score tied 24-24. Pitt was cold shooting from the outside during the first half, but they kept working and playing good defense. Alabama, who was ranked #1 in the country for a time last year, played the Panthers tough till the end. They were led by Chuck Davis who finished with 20 points scoring on the evening. Antoine Pettway also put on an impressive performance as he added 17 points.

Pitt needed to count on its bench and several players came through for them. Freshman Chris Taft lived up to his hype and finished with 8 points and 12 rebounds. Taft was a monster on the boards and showed why he was so highly recruited. Mark McCarroll and Yuri Demetris also provided big minutes as Troutman and Krauser both had to go to the bench with 4 personal fouls in the second half.

This game featured the debut of new Panthers coach Jamie Dixon. He took over for Ben Howland who left after last season to take over as coach at UCLA. Carl Krauser also had his debut at point guard after former star Brandin Knight started the last 4 years at the point. The Panther were ranked #22 in the country this week.

Brian Gold

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