The first half was a familiar story for the Panthers but despite their struggles, they were able to regroup, overwhelm and defeat North Florida by a score of 89-47.
As it has been all season, it was a quick start for the Panthers who got off to a quick 11-5 start. However, North Florida stayed in the game with their 3-point shooting ability.
Down 17-10, the Osprey called a timeout and ultimately tied things up at 23.
The Panthers would again bounce back and take a lead for good. During the Panthers run, Cameron Wright scored three straight baskets to stretch the advantage to double digits.
At the half, Pitt led 41-30. In the half, they shot 55.6 percent from the field, went 10 for 11 from the foul line and as a team had just one turnover in the. Woodall and Patterson each had eight points in the half.
The second half started well for the Panthers as Woodall found Steven Adams for the throwdown. Adams was fouled, but upon missing the freebie, Talib Zanna corraled the rebound and made the layup.
It was the start of a run that gave Pitt a 54-35 advantage with 16:35 remaining in the game. Zanna, Patterson and Woodall all were big parts of the 13-5 run.
As the half continued, the game got more and more out of hand. Five Panthers scored in double figures and the team had significant advantages in the paint, fast-break points, points off turnovers, second-chance points and bench points which put them well over the top.
“It’s always a pleasure to come back to Pittsburgh and to be back to where my roots started,” North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said. “Personally as a Pittsburgh native, I’m embarrassed. When it’s 27-27, you are down 11 and you fight back to tie the score. I know we are capable. We have done this a lot of times this year.”
Driscoll’s team has faced Kansas State, Florida State and Minnesota this season but said the Panthers “would probably be number one” when he ranked the teams. Driscoll is a top-25 voter and each of the past two weeks he said that he has voted for the Panthers. While Driscoll has plenty of Pittsburgh ties, he said that he voted with his head and not his heart.
The Panthers will next play Saturday at Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m.
North Florida failed to shoot one free throw. This is the fewest amount of free throw attempts ever by a Panther opponent. The fewest prior to tonight was November 28, 2003 against Albany. Albany got to the free throw line once and made the free throw. That was the first year of the Jamie Dixon era.