Pitt improves to 10-0 with rout of Youngstown State
Don't pat Pitt coach Jamie Dixon on the back and tell him how unfair it is that his undefeated team is unranked. All he'll do is point to Pitt's 91-73 victory Saturday against Youngstown State at Petersen Events Center, and tell you Pitt (10-0) has a lot of work to do — especially on defense.
The 91 points were nice (and a season high), especially coming with a 51.5 field-goal percentage, 22 assists and a season-best 47-21 rebounding edge.
The numbers that Dixon can't get out of his head are these: 73 and 28.
Youngstown State (7-5) scored more than any other Pitt opponent this season, even while losing its fourth game in the past five.
YSU guard Kendrick Perry led all scorers with 28 points, a season-best by an opposing player against the Panthers. Penn State's Tim Frazier scored 27 against the Panthers on Dec. 3. Plus, Stanford's Dwight Powell and Loyola Marymount's Anthony Ireland each had 20 against Pitt in the past month.
“I don't like a guy scoring 28 points,” Dixon said. “I don't care how many points we were up by (26 midway through the second half).”
Dixon played four freshmen at the same time for short stretches, but that was no excuse.
“We have to get better defensively with our young guys,” Dixon said. “You probably heard that one before, and I'll say it again. We have made that very clear to them. ... There are reasons why we are under the radar.”
Perry, the Horizon League preseason Player of the Year, scored 13 points in the first half and finished 11 of 18 from the field while playing 39 minutes.
“We knew he was going to be aggressive.” Pitt sophomore guard James Robinson said. “Obviously, we didn't do that good of a job on him. But we were still fortunate enough to come out with a win.”
Dixon said circumstances made it difficult for Pitt to play strong defense in both halves. The Panthers had 10 players log at least 10 minutes.
“I don't want to be that guy that has his starters in with a 25-point lead,” Dixon said. “I guess we have to find something wrong. You can't play perfect for 40 minutes.”
Dixon has no quarrel with his offense. Five players scored in double digits, with Lamar Patterson (18) surpassing 10 for the eighth consecutive game. Cameron Wright had 13, followed by Derrick Randall (11), freshman Michael Young (10) and center Talib Zanna (10 points, 15 rebounds).
“We couldn't handle their strength and physicality,” said Youngstown coach Jerry Slocum, who formerly led programs at Geneva and Gannon and has 680 victories in 39 seasons. “It was one of the best shooting Pitt teams I've seen. They share the ball well.”
Pitt, off to its best start since 2008-09, has much bigger challenges ahead, starting Tuesday at Madison Square Garden where the Panthers meet former Big East nemesis Cincinnati (7-1 through Friday).
Dixon will be seeking an effective mix of offense and defense from his new players, including freshmen Jamel Artis, Josh Newkirk and Young and junior transfer Randall.
“Offensively, they are hard to guard,” Dixon said. “You can just look at the numbers. Defensively, they have to get better.
“It's to be expected, but we don't have time to wait. They are playing significant minutes on a team that is trying to do some things.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Alibaba stock soars in frenetic trading debut
- Pitt meets Iowa’s muscle
- White House targets sexual assaults on college campuses
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger
- Inside the glass: Johnston’s opening practice grueling
- Raucous sold-out crowd awaits No. 4 Sooners in Morgantown
- CDC backlog means W.Pa, likely won’t get respiratory virus diagnoses quickly
- PSU figures to flex its top-10 ground ranking Saturday
- Moore hopes to see red (zone) in Steelers debut
- Predictions are for lots of brilliant color this autumn
- Crews battling Oakmont church blaze