Pitt eases past Hawaii-Hilo
Pitt men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon said his regular-season starting lineup isn't set in stone, and the offense still needs work.
But following his team's 77-45 win over Division II Hawaii-Hilo to round out the two-game exhibition schedule at Petersen Events Center on Friday, Dixon said they were better than a week earlier, a 15-point win over Indiana (Pa).
“We played hard and did what we wanted, forced turnovers, outrebounded them and took care of the ball,” he said. “We'll get better.”
The Vulcans turned the ball over 24 times and were outrebounded, 45-31.
Dixon said the offense didn't flow, citing a 4 of 14 performance from 3-point range, and promised to work on recognizing and taking open shots between now and the regular-season opener against Mount St. Mary's on Friday.
The Panthers never trailed in the game and led, 27-4, with eight minutes to go in the first half. At halftime, Hawaii-Hilo trailed by 18 points.
Junior forwards Talib Zanna and J.J. Moore led the Panthers with 13 points each. Freshman center Steven Adams led the team in rebounds with 10, followed by Moore with nine. All 11 players finished in double-figures in minutes played, as Dixon again spread around the playing time.
Freshman point guard James Robinson earned a second straight start along with senior Tray Woodall. Although Dixon wouldn't commit to a regular-season starting lineup, he said the pair has been the team's best guard defenders thus far.
Woodall, who finished with 16 points, seven assists and five steals last week against Indiana (Pa.), had six points, two points and eight assists. Robinson had nine points, five rebounds and two assists. Neither committed a turnover.
“It was a lot more smooth than last Friday,” Robinson said. “I think the week of practice really helped both of us out. I know a couple times we got caught up running each other's lane, but we're just trying to keep working hard together and building on what we can do for the team.”
Woodall said it's easy playing with a teammate like Robinson.
“He's learning, he's willing to learn and he's listening,” Woodall said. “It's easy to communicate with a guy like that. He's definitely a complement to my game.”
Hawaii-Hilo shot 30.6 percent from the field. Vulcans head coach Jeff Law is the son of former Pitt assistant Norm Law (1986-94) and both Law and Jamie Dixon served as assistant coaches at the University of Hawaii, albeit at different times.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com.