Pitt improves to 9-1 with rout of North Florida
North Florida coach and Pittsburgh native Matt Driscoll has led his team through a stacked nonconference schedule this season, with games against Memphis, Minnesota, Florida State and Kansas State.
Before an 89-47 loss Saturday to Pitt in front of 8,708 at Petersen Events Center, Driscoll thought No. 14 Minnesota was the best of the bunch.
“Now that we're done playing all these money games, I would say Pitt would probably be No. 1, then Minnesota two, Kansas State three and then Florida State and Memphis,” said Driscoll, whose college coaching career started at LaRoche. “I'm a voter in the Top 25, and I've voted (Pitt) for the last two weeks, not because of my heart but because of my head.”
Pitt (9-1) outscored North Florida (3-6), 48-17, in the second half. Lamar Patterson, Talib Zanna and Tray Woodall were all in double figures in scoring with 12 minutes left in the game, and Cameron Wright and Dante Taylor added their names to the list before it was over.
Taylor led the team in scoring with 16 points, half of which came in the final two minutes. Zanna scored 15 points and had five rebounds. Woodall had 14 points and nine assists, Patterson had 13 points and Wright 10.
This is the third season in a row and 11th of the past 12 in which Pitt has started the season 9-1 or better.
North Florida senior Parker Smith, who came into the game ranked 25th in the NCAA in 3-point field-goal percentage (47.9), was just 1 of 6 from long range. Travis Wallace and David Jeune led the Ospreys in scoring with 10 points each.
The Ospreys did not attempt a free throw. The fewest free throws attempted by a Pitt opponent before Saturday was one, versus Albany on Nov. 28, 2003.
Pitt had a 21-10 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half, but North Florida fought back to tie the score, 27-27, with 5:43 remaining. The Panthers scored the next 12 points and took a 41-30 lead into the break.
“They came out making shots, and that's what we knew they could do,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “We're trying to address some things on our defensive transition, and it's not where it needs to be. We understand that and we're working on it. … We just kept battling and fighting, and our offense was good all the way through. You can't be much more efficient than we were offensively.”
Pitt shot 58.9 percent from the field, scored 30 points off 17 North Florida turnovers and was 21 of 25 from the free-throw line.
And, despite losing the battle on the boards in the first half, 14-12, the Panthers finished with a 35-21 rebounding advantage.
“We were a little disappointed in ourselves (in the first half),” Taylor said. “We knew we had to pick it up and just came out and executed.”
Entering finals week, Pitt has just three nonconference games left on its schedule, beginning with Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
Pitt football coach Paul Chryst took in the game along with 13 recruits and got a standing ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the video board.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7980
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.