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Pitt sets shooting record in first half en route to win over Howard

| Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Talib Zanna dunks against Howard on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Lamar Patterson dunks on a fast break against Howard on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson takes the ball to the basket with Howard's Marcel Boyd (5) and Oliver Ellison defending Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at the Petersen Events Center.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young and Howard's Prince Okoroh go for a loose ball Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at the Petersen Events Center.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young is fouled by Howard's Oliver Ellison on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.

Cameron Wright was in disbelief upon hearing Pitt shot 81 percent from the field in the first half against Howard in the Progressive Legends Classic.

“Nobody told us that,” Wright said. “I feel like you guys make those statistics up sometimes. We had a great first half, I guess.”

Try the best in school history.

After setting a school record by missing all 11 3-point attempts against Fresno State, the Panthers broke another by sinking 17 of 21 shots in the first half of an 84-52 victory over Howard on Sunday at Petersen Events Center. The previous mark was 80.8 percent (21 of 26) against George Washington on Jan. 9, 1980.

Pitt (3-0) made 6 of 8 3-pointers in the first half and finished 8 of 15 from beyond the arc.

“I don't know that it was shooting but execution, decision-making and passing,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.

The Panthers jumped out to an 18-1 lead in the first seven minutes and never trailed.

Howard coach Kevin Nickelberry blamed it on the Bisons (2-3) packing the paint in a zone defense, allowing Pitt to penetrate and kick out to shooters.

“I told them the bigs can't beat us, the guards have to beat us — and the guards killed us,” Nickelberry said. “We tried to cut off what we thought was the head of the dragon.”

Lamar Patterson, for one, was breathing fire. The fifth-year senior scored a team-high 20 points, two shy of his career high. He finished 7 of 11 from the field and 4 of 5 on 3-pointers.

“I just (saw) it was going in,” Patterson said, “so I just wanted to keep shooting.”

Pitt's confidence in Patterson didn't waver, even after he shot 5 of 17 and missed all five 3-point attempts in the first two games.

“Lamar is a great player. He works hard,” Wright said. “He wasn't shooting that great the first couple of games, but he can score the ball.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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