Pitt crushes Bethune-Cookman behind Adams' double-double
No one expected a game between Pitt and Bethune-Cookman to be competitive, and it wasn't.
Pitt's 89-40 win over the 2011 Mid-Eastern Conference regular-season champions Saturday was the largest margin of victory ever at Petersen Events Center.
With 11:16 remaining in the game and Pitt leading, 65-34, freshman center Steven Adams had one more rebound (eight) than all nine Bethune-Cookman players combined.
Junior forward J.J. Moore led the team with 18 points, and Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna each had 11 points. Tray Woodall had 10 assists. The Panthers totaled 28 assists and nine turnovers, outrebounded the Wildcats, 40-11, and outscored them in the paint, 60-14.
“I'm obviously happy with how we played, especially the unselfishness,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “I think the first thing people talk about is the scoring, but the guy that stands out in my mind is Tray takes one shot. It just shows the mentality of our team and the unselfishness of our team. One shot, 10 assists and doesn't worry at all about his stats as our leading scorer.”
Adams recorded his first career double-double with a career-high 16 points along with 10 rebounds for the Panthers. His previous high was 13 points.
“We've seen a lot of progress,” Moore said of Adams. “He's finishing high at the basket more, and we emphasized with him to finish with his left hand in practice and he's doing a very good job at it.”
Senior guard Paul Scotland led Bethune-Cookman with seven points.
The overmatched Wildcats kept it relatively close for a good portion of the first half. With just over seven minutes to go the Panthers held a 25-21 lead, but a burst made it 34-23 and Bethune-Cookman called a timeout with 3:34 to go. The Wildcats made just one free throw before the half and went into the break trailing, 44-24.
Bethune-Cookman coach Gravelle Craig, a native of Farrell, said it was probably his team's worst game of the year in terms of effort.
“(Pitt) always plays hard and tough, and I wanted to give our guys that feeling,” he said. “Not in the manner of 49 points, but in the manner of playing hard for 40 minutes, try to get them to understand that. … We just didn't show up to fight, so I was disappointed in that.”
This was the first meeting between the schools. Bethune-Cookman is 1-23 all-time against the Big East, with its lone victory coming against South Florida.
The Panthers host Delaware State and Kennesaw State before opening their final Big East season against Cincinnati on Dec. 31. Their only loss this season has been against Michigan in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament, 67-62.
There was a moment of silence before the game to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Friday.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.