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Pitt routs La Roche in exhibition basketball game

| Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011

Highly-touted freshman Khem Birch scored a game-high 16 points and senior guard Ashton Gibbs added 15 as No. 10 Pitt routed La Roche College, 101-33, in its exhibition debut today at Petersen Events Center.

Birch scored 14 of his points in the second half, shooting 7 of 7 from the field, including three dunks, and grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot.

Gibbs, the Big East preseason player of the year, shot 6 for 12 from the field with four assists, two steals and no turnovers in 20 minutes.

J.J. Moore, who started at small forward, scored 12 points while shooting 4 of 5 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers.

The Panthers, playing without injured power forward Nasir Robinson, showed their depth against the Division III Redhawks with 12 different players logging at least eighth minutes.

Dante Taylor just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, and Tray Woodall had 11 points, seven assists and no turnovers in 17 minutes. Talib Zanna grabbed right rebounds, all in the first half

Malcolm Gilbert, a 6-foot-11 freshman, blocked three shots in a five-minute span of the first half.

Senior guard Mike Dixon, a Carrick High School product, scored 14 to lead La Roche.

The Pitt athletic department honored former La Roche coach Scott Lang, who died from a heart attack on Dec. 10 at age 41, with a pre-game video tribute. The Oakland Zoo student section handed out red and white button-sized stickers imprinted with "SL."

Pitt used an early 10-0 run to take a 12-3 lead over the Division III Redhawks. Pitt added a 19-1 surge to build a 31-point lead, 45-14, in the final seconds of the first half. The Panthers led 45-17 at the break.

Pitt opened the second half with an 18-2 run and led 63-19 with 14:30 to play in the game.

Pitt will play its final exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan on Monday, Nov. 7, before opening the 2011-12 season against visiting Albany on Nov. 11.

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