Pitt routs Stanford, easily wins Legends Classic
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Pardon the Pitt men's basketball team if it doesn't resemble the Big East bruisers New York has become accustomed to watching.
These Panthers play at a pace that wears out opponents by halftime, when they are building big leads.
If there is one thing that's familiar about Pitt, it's winning the Progressive Legends Classic.
Lamar Patterson scored 24 points, setting a career high for the second consecutive night, to earn Most Valuable Player honors and lead Pitt to an 88-67 victory over Stanford on Tuesday night in the championship game at Barclays Center.
“It was a good test, pretty much the first one we got all year,” Patterson said. “Stanford is a good team. I like the way these guys came through in crunch time and got the job done.”
It marked the second time in five years that Pitt (6-0) won this event. The Panthers also won in 2008 in Newark, N.J., beating Texas Tech and Washington State, and are 8-0 all-time in the Legends Classic.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon continues to push his Panthers to victories by preaching the importance of defense and unselfish scoring. What is different is that this team is doing it by scoring in transition, making 3-pointers and, perhaps most importantly, sinking free throws.
The Panthers scored 75 points or more for the sixth consecutive game and 80-plus for the third time, thanks to another strong start. They have scored at least 40 points in the first half in five of their first six games and led by an average of 23 points at halftime in their first five games.
“You always expect to see a gritty, hard-nosed team, a team that's going to play tough defensively, going to grind you out,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “What's different from what I had expected from this Pitt team — and I saw it on film, so it wasn't a surprise going into the game — I think this Pitt team is one of the best scoring Pitt teams I've seen in a long time.
“They're able to score a lot easier. That's why their numbers are so high. You look at their average per game, and you can see that's probably a big difference from years past. You have a more potent offensive team that's still a stingy defensive one.”
While Pitt's 15-point lead over Stanford (5-2) at intermission was its smallest, it might have been its most impressive.
Stanford tied it 9-9 and remained within single digits of Pitt until Durand Johnson drew a foul with 1 second left on the shot clock and made two free throws for a 30-20 lead at 5:17. Johnson also gave Pitt a 15-point lead with a 3-pointer at 3:15 and again by rebounding his own 3-point miss and scoring to make it 39-24.
Pitt outscored Stanford, 34-19, over the final 13 minutes of the half. The Panthers made 25 of 56 (45.5 percent) from the floor and 30 of 34 free throws.
Johnson had a four-point play only moments after Josh Huestis cut it to 11 with 8:57 left. Johnson sank a 3-pointer from the left wing, drawing a Chasson Randle foul, and sank the free throw for a 70-55 lead.
“That's a deflating play,” Dawkins said. “The kid hit a big shot and sent the lead back up to 15. That was difficult to overcome.”
Johnson, who had 14 points, was one of five Panthers to score in double figures, joining Patterson, Talib Zanna (14), Cameron Wright (13) and James Robinson (10). Wright had five rebounds, four assists and three steals, and he was named to the all-tournament team.
Stanford was led by 6-foot-10 senior Dwight Powell (20 points, nine rebounds), who also was named to the all-tournament team.
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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.
- Script is it: Classic Pitt helmet design to return
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- House has Pitt defense trending in right direction
- Notre Dame leads powerhouses in ACC; Pitt women picked 14th
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- 3 Pitt football recruits plan to enroll early