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Patterson's career-high 30 points lead Pitt past Cal Poly

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 6:03 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon watches as Cameron Wright is defended by Cal Poly's Jamal Johnson during the second half Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Lamar Patterson scores past Cal Poly's Brian Bennett during the second half Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Lamar Patterson scores past Cal Poly's Joel Awich during the second half Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jamel Artis scores between Cal Poly's David Nwaba and Brian Bennett during the second half Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Josh Newkirk scores during the second half against Cal Poly on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Lamar Patterson scores between Cal Poly's Maliik Love (left) and Ridge Shipley during the second half Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Lamar Patterson scores between Cal Poly's Kyle Odister (left) and Joel Awich during the second half Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Petersen Events Center.

One game after Lamar Patterson put the blame squarely on his shoulders after missing two free throws in the final minute against Cincinnati, the Pitt fifth-year senior responded with the best performance of his career.

Patterson scored a career-high 30 points to lead Pitt to a 73-56 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday afternoon at Petersen Events Center. He is one point shy of becoming the 42nd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.

Patterson had missed two free throws with 21.7 seconds left and Pitt leading by one point in a 44-43 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

“We didn't have much discussion about it. I guess I had no doubt that he would respond in a positive manner,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “He's been so good all year long. We had him in the situation we wanted him to be in, and it just didn't happen. Sometimes, you come up short. But he handled it well afterwards, which I thought spoke volumes.”

Patterson dominated the game without dominating the ball in 30 minutes: He made 11 of 15 field goals, including 4 of 7 3-pointers, within the flow of Pitt's offense. He also sank all four free-throw attempts as the Panthers set a Petersen Events Center record by going 12 for 12 from the foul line.

“You obviously want to look for everybody else on the court,” Pitt sophomore James Robinson said, “but, as a point guard, it almost would be crazy if I didn't look for him more.”

It marked the fourth time this season that Patterson scored 20 points or more but the first time in his career that he cracked the 30-point plateau. Patterson set career highs on back-to-back nights last month in earning MVP honors at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, scoring 23 against Texas Tech and 24 against Stanford.

The last Pitt player to score 30 points or more in a game was Sam Young, who had 32 against Oklahoma State in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Young also was the last to score 30 points at Petersen Events Center — he scored 31 against Connecticut on March 7, 2009 — and also holds the Pete record for a Pitt player with 33 against Belmont on Nov. 25, 2008.

“I feel like he's got that NBA-prospect body but also NBA patience,” Cal Poly coach Joe Callero said of Patterson. “He played at a speed that let the game come to him. I thought he was aggressive but not forcing anything. The efficiency he had was really impressive. In 30 minutes, he had 30 points. But it wasn't 30 points on 30 shots. It was 30 points on 15 shots. None of them I felt like were rushed or selfish.”

Pitt (11-1) needed Patterson, who had 13 first-half points, to carry the scoring load. The Panthers jumped out to a 22-8 lead before Cal Poly rallied with three consecutive 3-pointers to spark a 15-6 run to finish the first half.

Cal Poly (4-7) had lost to Fresno State by 17 and Loyola Marymount by 20 — teams Pitt beat by 21 and 17, respectively — among its five consecutive road losses this season. The Mustangs, however, kept the game close by shooting 41.5 percent (22 of 53) and staying within five rebounds (33-28) of the Panthers, including 11 offensive boards.

Chris Eversley scored 16 points, and Kyle Odister added 13 points.

Pitt led 37-34 with 14:38 remaining when Patterson sparked an 8-0 run. He assisted on a Cameron Wright layup, made a 3-pointer and scored a three-point play for a 45-34 advantage.

Patterson scored 12 points in a 3:43 span, had 17 in the first 9:55 of the second half but didn't score again.

“My shots were going down. My teammates were finding me,” Patterson said. “It just felt good that it was all in the flow of the offense. I felt like I wasn't really forcing anything. It just showed unselfish the team is, how they swing the ball around. I really didn't notice (the points). I just wanted to keep shooting. I seen it was going in.

“At that point in the game, I just wanted to win.”

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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