With the way Lamar Patterson has been playing lately, you had to wonder how No. 22 Pitt would fare on a night when he didn’t have his best scoring game.
It turned out to be no problem at all.
With Patterson not shooting well and Durand Johnson out for the season with a torn ACL, Pitt was committed to doing most of their damage on the interior.
Pitt (16-1, 4-0 ACC) shot 56.9 percent from the the floor on plenty of high-percentage looks. The Panthers also dominated the glass, holding a 38-8 rebounding edge.
The Panthers actually trailed 35-32 at halftime but like we have seen all season long, they quickly took control of the game after the break for its sixth straight win.
Pitt led by as many as 14 in the second half but got a bit of a scare in the final minute. Georgia Tech (10-7, 1-3) got as close as 78-74 before the Panthers sealed it at the free-throw line. It was Pitt’s closest victory of the season, the first 15 coming by an average of 17.8 points.
There were 11 lead changes in the first half, but the Panthers scored nine straight points to start the second half to take the lead for good, wearing down the Yellow Jackets on the inside.
In addition to big games from Zanna and Robinson, Cameron Wright (14) and Patterson (12) both finished in double figures for the Panthers. All of Patterson’s points came in Pitt’s big second half as he was held scoreless during the game’s first 20 minutes.
The Yellow Jackets were led by Trae Golden, who finished with 22 points.
Rebounding was the difference though as Zanna led the Panthers with nine, while Patterson and Michael Young chipped in with seven apiece. No one from Georgia Tech had more than five.
The win was the first for Pitt over Georgia Tech in program history.
Next up for the Panthers is a heavyweight battle with No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday as the two former Big East foes hook up for what amounts to the ACC’s early game of the year.