Three days after a painfully-close loss at undefeated No. 2 Syracuse, the Pitt Panthers men’s basketball team jumped back into the win column with a dominating home performance.
The No. 20/19 Panthers had all facets of their game working Tuesday night at Petersen Events Center, controlling the action the whole way in a 76-43 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference foe Clemson.
Center Talib Zanna scored a game-high 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting for the unselfish Panthers, who generated a remarkable 24 assists on their 27 total field goals. Lamar Patterson had 13 points to go with six assists, while James Robinson recorded eight points and a team-best nine helpers .
Pitt (17-2, 5-1 ACC) matched the energy of its headband-wearing Oakland Zoo student section, a sartorial choice meant to honor injured guard Durand Johnson. After Clemson scored the first basket, the Panthers pieced together an 11-0 run on their way to a 37-20 lead at halftime. The final margin of 33 points was the fourth-largest in Pitt program history for a conference game.
Not only were the Panthers coldly efficient in shooting the ball – they went 27 for 48 from the field for a 56 percent success rate – they held the visiting Tigers (13-5, 4-2 ACC) to 32 percent shooting, including just 21 percent (4 for 19) from behind the 3-point line.
Meanwhile, Pitt connected on 8 of 15 shots from distance, with Patterson going 3 for 4 and Robinson knocking down 2 of 3. Cameron Wright made the only 3 he attempted on the way to 12 points, and Josh Newkirk contributed 10 points off the bench on perfect shooting from the field.
K.J. McDaniels paced Clemson with 11 points, the lone visitor to net more than six. The Tigers entered the night tied with Pitt in the ACC standings, but they couldn’t add to their best conference start in 17 years.
The Panthers travel to Maryland on Saturday as they try for the season sweep of the Terrapins. Pitt won the first meeting 79-59 on Jan. 6 at the Pete.