Pitt rolls past Delaware in NIT Season Tip-Off
NEW YORK — It was hardly the best experience Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has ever had at Madison Square Garden, but he left New York on Friday feeling better about his team than he has in quite a while.
Two days after controlling most of the play against No. 4 Michigan before ultimately letting one get away, Pitt bullied Delaware in a 85-59 victory in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-off.
Delaware coach Monte Ross was impressed by Pitt's size and versatility. All 10 Pitt players who entered the game played at least 10 minutes.
“That was one of the more astounding offensive performances we've ever had played against us,” Ross said.
Pitt (5-1) shot 59 percent from the field, recorded 25 assists and committed only six turnovers.
Dixon clearly senses his team is capable of a significant bounce-back season after failing to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade last season. Of last season's team, Dixon recently said, “I felt at times last year, I didn't know who to put in.”
This year, his options are many.
“I'm real happy with how we responded,” Dixon said. “We're excited about where we are right now.”
Pitt's versatility was on display against overmatched Delaware.
The Panthers' ability to score inside was evident throughout as all three members of the starting frontcourt scored in double figures. Forward Talib Zanna, Pitt's leading scorer through six games, stayed hot by producing a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Forward Lamar Patterson enjoyed a second straight solid game by registering 16 points and 10 rebounds. Center Steven Adams, held scoreless against Michigan, responded with 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks against Delaware (2-3).
“Our offense is better this year,” Zanna said. “Motion on both sides of the ball, ball screens on both sides of the ball.”
Dixon was pleased with his team's execution and unselfishness — 25 assists on 33 field goals — but more than anything, he approved of how his team responded to Friday's game. Less than 48 hours after an upsetting loss, Pitt dealt with the distraction of being on the road during a holiday and showed no sign of sluggishness, taking control from the opening minutes by going ahead, 23-6.
Pitt led by 20 at halftime and never permitted Delaware to get closer than 17 points in the second half.
Dixon liked the first 30 minutes of his team's performance against Michigan. Although Delaware is hardly Michigan, Dixon said he felt as though his team played an elite game on Friday.
And he feels like this team's best basketball awaits later this season.
“We learned some good things about ourselves,” Dixon said.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.