Pitt Panthers End Non-Conference Schedule On High Note


Dec 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers guard Cameron Wright (3) splits Florida Gulf Coast Eagles defenders forward Marc-Eddy Norelia (25) and guard Brett Comer (0) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 71-52. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pitt Panthers men’s basketball team ended its non-conference schedule with a 71-54 victory against Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday night.

The victory gave Pitt a 10-3 record as well as its 200th victory at the Petersen Events Center

“I really liked what we did offensively, we were unselfish and moved the ball well and we got good shots throughout,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “I can only think of maybe one or two questionable shots. I liked how we spread our assists around. We handled some of the things they were doing, switching some things and recognizing those. Also, the inside-out, I thought that was good for us.”

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Since returning to the line-up from injury, Cameron Wright has been a key contributor on both sides of the ball and the Panthers have been 6-0. Wright had 15 points in the contest and tied a team high with six rebounds.

“I think we’ve got what we need and we’ve got the players, there are no excuses,” said Dixon. “We’ve addressed a lot of things. I think we have a good rotation and we’ve just got to continue to improve. They’ve obviously got room to improve. We’ve got room to improve. We have no excuses. We have the guys and the ability to get better.”

Other key contributors were Michael Young (16 points/6 rebounds) and James Robinson (12 points).

“I played against big guys before,” Young said. “Obviously I am playing against bigger guys now being at the five spot. I am comfortable at it. When I am at the five versus the four spot, there is more one on one. I have more space to work whether I want to go post or mid-post. There isn’t one five man in the country that can guard me as far as playing inside or outside so I am very comfortable playing the five spot.”

The turning point in the game came in the second half. Pitt led 33-24 and stretched the lead to double digits, however Florida Gulf Coast (9-5) cut its deficit to seven and the Panthers elected to call timeout.

Though Pitt was only +2 in rebounding, it had two key rebounds off Robinson three point misses that frustrated coach Joe Dooley and senior guard Brett Comer.

“They went after the ball like men,” said Comer. They really hit our big men, went after the ball and got almost every rebound through the stretch. They got two free throws offensive rebounds in a row. When you give up rebounds and second chance points it is hard to make a run or try to make a comeback.”

Comer came in leading the NCAA in assists and had five to go with 10 points in the contest but had six turnovers which slowed down “Dunk City”.

“The first two were really just bonehead ones from me,” Comer said. “Then the two after that were just two missed lobs. Another one was just through a guy’s hands. They kind of pressured me, but it was just a lot of bonehead plays by me.”

Pitt shot 53.8 percent from the field which was the highest percentage allowed by Florida Gulf Coast.

“Pitt did a good job of coming out and being aggressive,” Dooley said. “Part of their aggressiveness forced us into some turnovers. We turned the ball over more than we had previously in the season, some of the turnovers were uncharacteristic. When you get eighteen points off of turnovers that is a big deficit. They did a good job, especially in the second half. We made some runs with attacking the backboard. It really hurt us on the offensive backboard in the second half. They hit timely shots and that’s what good teams do. Pitt is a good team.”


The Panthers will open their ACC schedule Saturday at North Carolina State.

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