Pitt basketball gets help from bench in win over Robert Morris

By Lauren Kirschman

The Pitt men’s basketball team received more than a spark from its bench on Friday night.

… The Pitt men’s basketball team received more than a spark from its bench on Friday night.

The Panthers’ bench players scored 29 points in Pitt’s 81-71 win over Robert Morris at the Petersen Events Center.

Redshirt freshman guard Cameron Wright reached double figures for the first time in his career, netting 13 points in his most productive game of the season.

Power forward Talib Zanna added a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds while John Johnson scored six points, including shooting 2-2 from beyond the arc. Two players who normally come off the bench—J.J. Moore and Khem Birch—made the most of their opportunities to start for the second consecutive game.

Coming off a 15 points, 10 rebound performance against Penn, Birch was active all game at center for the Panthers. He collected 11 rebounds and added six blocks while scoring eight points. Moore put his offensive abilities on display, finishing with eight points on 3-9 shooting.

Birch and Moore started in place of small forward Lamar Patterson and center Dante Taylor. Patterson was suspended for two games due to undisclosed reasons and Taylor is suffering from migraines.

With the score tied 6-6 less than five minutes into the game, the Panthers used a 13-2 run to pull away from the Colonials and take a 20 point lead into the break.

Pitt held on to the large advantage for most of the contest, but the Colonials cut the Panthers’ lead to nine, 68-59, with a 3-pointer from Cordon Williams with 1:49 remaining.

Robert Morris continued to fight back as Russell Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to make the score 77-69. But the Colonials ran out of time and the Panthers sealed the win at the line, shooting 13-14 from the stripe down the stretch.