James Robinson Leads Pitt To Comfortable Win Over Duquesne In Annual City Game


Dec 5, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers guard James Robinson (0) dribbles the ball past Duquesne Dukes guard Jordan Stevens (35) during the second half at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Panthers won 76-62. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers were happy to be playing basketball back in the city of Pittsburgh.

The inaugural city game was played in the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center, and the Panthers defeated Duquesne 76-62 for their 14th consecutive win over their neighbors.

Junior point guard James Robinson had a career-high 23 points for Pitt, as he wanted to make up for his last game, where he only scored one basket.

Duquesne came into the game leading the country in three point field goal percentage (49%), but Pitt held them to 7 of 22 shooting.

The Panthers clamped down on defense, forcing the Dukes to shoot 37.3% (22 for 59) overall.  Though this opponent was nowhere near the talented San Diego State Aztecs or Indiana Hoosiers, it was still promising to see Pitt work on its defense.

Coach Dixon changed the rotation, as junior center Joseph Uchebo and freshman guard/forward Ryan Luther received more playing time.

Workhorse guard Robinson played 38 minutes, scoring 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.  Sophomore guard Josh Newkirk came off the bench and scored 16 points on 3 of 4 shooting from the three point line.  Uchebo provided a spark off the bench, adding 12 points for Pitt (5-3).

For Duquesne (3-2), freshman forward TySean Powell had a team high 15 points, along with junior guard Jordan Stevens off the bench.  Junior guard Derrick Colter chipped in 13 in the loss.

A very promising site for Pitt Panthers fans was the comeback of senior guard Cameron Wright, who has missed every game thus far with a foot injury.  Wright entered the game in the first half and missed two shots.  He only played one minute, but I expect Wright will be back in game shape in no time.

The only time Pitt trailed in this game was when Duquesne junior guard Micah Mason drained a three pointer to make it 5-3.  With 3:31 left in the first half, Newkirk hit a jumper for Pitt, giving the Panthers their biggest lead 37-23.

Pitt would go into the half with a 39-27 advantage, feeling much better than their last game against the Hoosiers.

For the first six and a half minutes of the second half, Pitt only managed to score 4 points.  Luckily, Duquesne did not do much better, only managing to cut the lead to 7.

The Dukes got hot from the three point line, making four three pointers in a span of three minutes, but Pitt sophomore guard Chris Jones, as well as Robinson punched back with some buckets of their own.

Robinson, along with Pitt sophomore forward Jamel Artis would make their free throws down the stretch to secure the 76-62 victory.

A few takeaways from this game are that Pitt beat an inferior opponent by clamping down on defense, Coach Dixon used some different lineup combinations, senior guard Cameron Wright will be worked back into the rotation, junior center Joseph Uchebo was assertive against a smaller squad, and point guard James Robinson is a very important piece to this Pitt team.

Robinson is a catalyst for Pitt.  Without Robinson, the Pitt Panthers would not have a floor general who can also score.  He just needs to be more assertive and confident in his shot.

As part of Dixon’s lineup changes, sophomore forward Sheldon Jeter did not see any action for Pitt, and senior center Derrick Randall only played 4 minutes despite starting.

Hopefully Pitt will continue to grow and gel together in time for ACC play.

Pitt will host St. Bonaventure next Saturday.