Zanna paces Pitt past Delaware State
After an uninspired first half, Pitt turned it around in the second to log a 71-43 win over Delaware State on Wednesday at Petersen Events Center.
Talib Zanna scored six of his team-leading 20 points to spark a 10-0 run after halftime, and from there the Panthers dominated.
They outrebounded the Hornets, 21-7, in the second half, held them to 14.3 percent shooting from 3-point range compared to 44.4 percent in the first half and turned over the ball just once after eight first-half turnovers.
“We were just being more patient with the ball,” said J.J. Moore, who finished with 15 points and three rebounds. “The first half we weren't, and that was forcing turnovers, so that was our adjustment at halftime: Just be patient.”
Zanna's 20 points matched a career-high set twice this season, and he added nine rebounds. It was his eighth game scoring in double figures and sixth out of the last seven.
Steven Adams had 10 points and eight rebounds, as Pitt improved to 11-1 with just one game left against Kennesaw State on Sunday before the Big East season opens.
The Panthers were without Dante Taylor, who bruised his heel in Saturday's game and did not practice Monday or Tuesday. His status for Sunday's game remains unclear.
“We don't anticipate it being a long time, but already it's longer than I was told going in,” coach Jamie Dixon said.
Durand Johnson was limited to eight minutes because of a hamstring injury.
Delaware State took the lead twice and tied the game twice in the first half.
The Panthers had an eight-point lead, their largest of the first half, with 2:32 remaining. But Delaware State's Tahj Tate scored twice, the second time after stealing the ball off Tray Woodall and taking it down for a layup as the final seconds expired to pull the Hornets within 31-27 at halftime.
Thirteen of Delaware State's 27 points came off eight Pitt turnovers, just one fewer than the Panthers totaled against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
“I thought we were impatient offensively in the first half,” Dixon said. “It got better the second half. Defended better, guarded the penetration better and did a good job getting the ball inside the whole way through, and that's what we wanted to do.”
The Panthers dominated in the paint, 48-18.
“The guards, we just want to penetrate and then someone else step up, they'll be wide open, drop it off to them for an easy layup,” Lamar Patterson said. “That's basically what we like to do here: Drive and kick and get the easy basket if possible.”
Delaware State (5-7) didn't until Tate hit a jump shot almost six minutes into the second half. It would add just 14 more points the rest of the way. Tate led the team with 19 points.
“I thought the talent level took over in the second half,” Delaware State coach Greg Jackson said. “They took it to another level and pretty much took us out of a lot of the things we wanted to do.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7980.