The Pitt Panthers did not have much trouble defeating Lehigh 77-58 Wednesday evening to move to 4-0 on the season.
Leading the way was Talib Zanna who had a career high 23 points and 14 rebounds. The Panthers also received contributions from Lamar Patterson (17 points), Durand Johnson (career-high 15 points) and James Robinson (11 assists) in the victory.
“Some really good things started with James (Robinson) and started with Lamar (Patterson). Every game we’ve got Lamar giving other guys shots to start the game,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “Everybody knows we’ve had unselfish players year-in and year-out and we continue to do so.
“Our track record and dramatic numbers speak to that and I thought tonight was great evidence of it. We’ve been pretty consistent with playing good basketball.”
Pitt scored 10 of the first 12 points in the game and set the tone from the get go. Lehigh was able to cut the lead to three, but Johnson made the first of his five threes to continue to pace the Panthers.
“Last game I felt bad, I felt down on myself,” Johnson said. “I shot 0 for 4 on the three and I really felt bad on myself. I really wanted to come out tonight and be more confident and be more shot ready. My teammates found me and I was able to knock down shots.”
Less than a minute later, Johnson connected again and the lead was to 13 points. This started a 16-0 Panthers run.
“I think Johnson did an excellent job, and coming into this game, we knew he had potential shooting at the perimeter,” Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. “We were in a difficult position, where we knew that we needed to protect our paint, and just had to pick our poison. Johnson stepped up to convert and make those open shots. Unfortunately we did not adjust in time to neutralize him.”
When Kempton made a lay-up with 5:20 left to play in the first half, Lehigh had its first field goal in 7:34 of game action. At the half, Pitt led 47-23.
Pitt was outscored in the second half 35-30, but that did not matter as the damage had already been done. Nine of 10 Panthers scored in the victory. Pitt shot 46.8 percent from the field.
Tim Kempton led Lehigh with 20 points.
The Panthers will next play Texas Tech at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
They said it:
“I think we had a pretty good understanding of how they were going to rotate in terms of defending the ball screens. My guys did a great job catching the ball and finishing, I think that goes across the board for tonight. Everybody finished plays, my job was to give them the ball and let them do what they do best, score.” – Robinson on his comfort level in the game.