Pitt closes nonconference schedule with 59-43 win
By Karen Price
Published: Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 7:02 p.m.
Pitt closed its nonconference schedule with a lackluster yet sufficient win over Kennesaw State, 59-43, on Sunday night at Petersen Events Center.
Talib Zanna led the team with 12 points and nine rebounds, and coach Jamie Dixon earned his 250th career win as the Panthers improved to 12-1 heading into their final season in the Big East.
Their only loss of the season came against Michigan, 67-62.
“We're starting over 0-0 now is what I told our guys going forward,” said Dixon, who is 250-78 as a head coach. “I didn't think we had our best performance (Sunday), but that's behind us ,and we're getting ready for conference play.”
Pitt will have three days off before resuming practice Thursday. The Panthers face No. 11 Cincinnati on Dec. 31 in their Big East opener.
The game Sunday probably was closer at junctures than Pitt anticipated, given Kennesaw State came in 1-10, including nine straight losses.
But the Owls made four of their first six shots from 3-point range and trailed just 16-13 with 11 minutes to go in the first half.
Pitt went on a 10-3 run to open its first double-digit lead with four minutes remaining, and the Panthers led, 30-16, at halftime. The 16 points permitted is tied for the ninth fewest the Panthers have allowed in a half in school history.
Zanna led all players with 10 points and seven rebounds in the first half.
But Kennesaw State again went to the 3-pointer in the second half and hit three in a row before a tip-in made it 39-29 with 13:48 left. The Owls again pulled within 10 points, making it 44-34 on yet another 3-pointer with 10 minutes remaining.
“They played hard the whole game and hit open jump shots,” Pitt guard James Robinson said. “They were on. We didn't have one of our best defensive performances, and that's something we're going to have to work on heading into Big East play.”
Kennesaw State shot 46 percent from the field in the second half compared to Pitt's 40 percent, and the Panthers narrowly outscored them, 29-27.
“I thought our guys, the second 20 minutes, played with the energy and effort I wanted them to play with,” said Kennesaw State coach Lewis Preston, a former Notre Dame assistant. “(Pitt's) the biggest and most physical team we've played all year and probably will be the most physical and biggest team we'll play throughout the course of the season.”
Pitt senior center Dante Taylor, whose availability was questionable after he missed the Panthers' previous game with a bruised heel, played 13 minutes. He had three points and three rebounds.
“He wasn't 100 percent, obviously, and we didn't want to play him a lot,” Dixon said. “I think we got what we wanted to get out of him and hopefully helped just to get him ready here going forward.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She 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.
- Pitt rallies in final seconds of regulation en route to OT win at Clemson
- Former Pitt coach Majors in stable condition after heart procedure
- Pitt’s oldest known living football letterman turns 100