ShareThis Page

Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68

Kevin Gorman
| Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Pitt's Michael Young dunks over Loyola Marymount's C.J. Blackwell (2) and Gabe Levin in the first half Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young dunks over Loyola Marymount's C.J. Blackwell (2) and Gabe Levin in the first half Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.

Loyola Marymount traveled 4,298 miles for the opportunity to play Pitt in a nonconference game at Petersen Events Center.

The Lions would have needed time travel to beat the Panthers on Friday night.

This wasn't the Bo Kimble-led Loyola Marymount team of 1989-90 that still ranks as the highest-scoring team in NCAA history at 122 points a game, the one that made a miraculous run to the Elite Eight after Hank Gathers died during the WCC tournament.

Pitt cruised to an 85-68 victory over undermanned and overmatched Loyola Marymount, holding the Lions to a season-low scoring total in the fifth of a six-game road trip that will cover 15,843 miles.

“We will have played nine of our first 10 games on the road, and I hope that serves us well later,” Loyola Marymount coach Max Good said. “Playing against a caliber team of Pittsburgh will make us better, but I laugh when people talk about the travel and how tough it is.”

Loyola Marymount (6-3) played without center Godwin Okonji, lost to a leg injury suffered in a preseason auto accident, and forwards Ayodeji Egbeyemi and Nino Jackson, who were injured Monday at UC Riverside.

Pitt showed no mercy, nor did Good expected any.

“You think Jamie Dixon cares about that? You think Pitt's players care that we've got people down? (Heck) no,” Good said. “I'll tell you what their attitude is — I know what it is because it's mine: When you get somebody down, you step on their neck until their bones pop, then you pee in their ear. I'm not trying to be funny. They've got a killer mentality.”

Pitt (9-0) handcuffed senior guard Anthony Ireland, holding him to six points in the first half, and maintained a double-digit lead for the final 26:22. Ireland finished with a game-high 20 points in 38 minutes, scoring seven in the final 2:20.

“It didn't bother me,” said Ireland, a 5-foot-10 senior guard who averages 18.9 points a game. “I was just trying to pick my spots as best as I can, trying to get my teammates involved. Give them credit. They did a good defensive job on me. They played well. I've just got to do better.”

The Panthers shot 58.3 percent (35 of 60) from the field and held Loyola Marymount to 38.8 percent shooting (26 of 67).

Ireland and backcourt partner Evan Payne (16 points) shot a combined 12 for 31 from the field, going 3 for 6 from 3-point range.

“We had deer in the headlights and didn't do it,” Good said. “We cut it to 14 in the second half, made a mild run. Frankly, we had guys who kind of froze. Instead of getting in transition, they made us pay, as good teams do. Pitt's good. We'll see how good as the year goes along, but they're plenty good.”

Although the Panthers lost the battle of the boards 37-35, it was in part to their scoring 54 points in the paint. Pitt also had 23 assists on its 35 field goals, with point guard James Robinson finishing with nine points, six assists and one turnover.

“We did what we wanted to do offensively, I thought, and the defense got better as the game went on,” Dixon said. “For the most part, we did get to all of our goals. To their credit, they kept battling.”

Cameron Wright made 7 of 9 field goals for a team-high 14 points and was one of five Panthers to score in double figures. Talib Zanna and Durand Johnson scored 12 points each, while Lamar Patterson and Michael Young both added 10.

“I think we're a really unselfish team,” Robinson said. “Everybody is capable of creating their own shot, but we're unselfish. We look for each other. We don't care who gets to shine as long as we win.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.