PGT 88 SPK 82
Monday night's first game showed a lot of intensity, as PGT (4-4) was able to hold off SPK 88-82 (2-6). PGT advances to play on Tuesday night against Center Court (6-1).
The game was paced by a few individual matchups, sparked by of all players, the true freshmen out of the group. Cameron Wright and J.J. Moore went toe-to-toe with each other, with Wright coming out on the winning side. Wright led his team with 20 points, on 9-of-16 shooting. Moore, despite being on the losing end, led his team with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
While Wright was slashing to the hole, and distributing all night, it was Moore who had to bring his team back twice. In a game that was neck-and-neck much throughout, Moore tied the game on one his two three-pointers. He also brought his team back with a couple driving layups.
One of the players setting up Wright all night was redshirt freshman Lamar Patterson. Patterson, who played on last summer's championship team, only scored nine points, but grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists. It begs to question where Patterson sees himself playing, heading into the season.
"All over, it doesn't matter," Patterson said. "It's wherever Coach Dixon puts me at. It's wherever--the two, three, four. Everyone can play anywhere--two, three, four or five."
After the game, Patterson was all smiles. It may be a summer league to just have fun, but advancing in the playoffs is a serious matter to him and all the other players involved.
"Bragging rights, it's bragging rights for all of Pittsburgh," Patterson said. "I know Brad (Wanamaker) and Gary (McGhee) and all them, they want to win no matter what. You also have to play hard to make sure you're going to get better."
Patterson and McGhee battled with teammates Nasir Robinson and Wanamaker--whether it was grabbing rebounds, or driving against one another. All night, all players put forth a physical effort against each other. They may be Pitt teammates, but they played like fierce enemies on Monday night. In his team's win, McGhee scored 17 points, while grabbing 11 rebounds. Wanamaker had one of his better shooting performances of the summer, converting 7-of-13 shots for a total of 19 points. Robinson chipped in 16 points and five rebounds.
Also coming up big in the win for PGT was Robert Morris alum Jeremy Chappell and Duquesne's B.J. Monteiro. Chappell hit a three with 1:30 left in the game, to give his team some breathing room, with a 83-78 lead. He finished with 17 points, including three, three-pointers. Monteiro added adding 18, going 7-of-8 from the field.
P&W 84 UPMC 79
Robert Morris point guard Karon Abraham was unstoppable in the win, scoring 25 points on 12-of-21 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. Sean Hawkins grabbed 14 rebounds in the win--the most of any player on the night.
Pitt walk-on Nick Rivers also contributed to P&W's win, with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. Even in his role, he takes great pride in helping his team advance in the playoffs, while tuning up his fundamentals.
"Definitely, the bragging rights, the satisfaction that everything we're working for in the summer, we see the progress in summer league," Rivers said. "Wherever we're at, we compete, we play. We can see the reward from all the hard work we've been putting in all summer."
Though Rivers doesn't get much playing time during the regular season, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon has him along with true freshman Aron Nwanko as two of the more talented walk-ons the team has had over the years.
"For me, it just shows I can compete with these guys," Rivers said. "I may not get a lot of playing time in the games, but I know that I'm helping out my team by me playing hard. By me playing as hard as I can, I'm making the team better."
Rivers was instrumental in building his team's early lead. His first three-pointer extended the P&W lead to 17-6, just five minutes in. To that point of the game Rivers had already dished out three assists.
P&W extended its lead to 45-29 at halftime, before UPMC came back to make it interesting. UPMC, playing without Pitt's Dante Taylor, was led by Lamar Caskill, who finished with 23 points. Robert Morris' Josiah Whitehead added 19 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. It was Caskill, who actually tied the game for his team in the second half. After scoring off a layup, thanks to a feed from Robert Morris alum Mezie Nwigwe, the P&W lead was down to 49-42. Caskill stole the inbounds pass, then added another quick layup. Two possessions later, he was fouled after converting a shot. His added free throw gave UPMC its first lead at 54-51.
Anytime UPMC got close, P&W turned things over to Westminster's Ryan Murray, who finished the game with 23 points, on 5-of-10 three-pointers.
Pitt's Travon Woodall was on the losing side, though he did finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.