Pitt sports roundup: What you may have missed over break

By Kelly Flanigan

The men’s basketball team had an enjoyable break, while two other Pitt sports teams —… The men’s basketball team had an enjoyable break, while two other Pitt sports teams — football and women’s basketball — had a forgettable holiday. The following is a run-down of their games.


MEN’S BASKETBALL: No. 5 Pitt vs. Robert Morris University, 74-53

The Zoo looked a little emptier than normal, but the men’s basketball team put on a show as if it were an ordinary night at the Petersen Events Center, handily defeating the Colonials. Robert Morris, which was playing without standout guard Karon Abraham, was led by Russell Johnson who finished with a double-double, racking up 15 points and 12 rebounds.

For the Panthers, Ashton Gibbs scored 20 points, Brad Wanamaker had 17, and both Gilbert Brown and Gary McGhee contributed 11 points each. Nasir Robinson pulled down 11 rebounds for the Panthers, and McGhee carried out his double-double of the game with 12 rebounds.

One problem for Pitt against the Colonials was turnovers. Head coach Jamie Dixon was not pleased with the number of turnovers, and cites it as an area that needs improvement for the Panthers.

“You’ve got to look at different things. We held them to 30 percent, we outrebounded them by 15, then we go to the negative of 15 turnovers which is higher that we want it. We shoot for 12,” he said after the game. “For most teams, they aim for 15, we set our standards higher and strive for 12. We’re always one of the lowest [for turnovers] in the country.”


WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: No. 6 Duke vs. Pitt, 93-55

When the Blue Devils left the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night, they not only went home with a rout on the Panthers, they also left with two Petersen Events Center game records.

The basketball powerhouse Duke set the record for most steals in a game at 16, and also drained 37 field goals, tying the all-time record.

Duke’s bench scored 44 points, whereas Pitt’s scored two and the Panthers (2-2) were unable to stop the Blue Devil (5-0) forwards as they were continually outrebounded. Duke’s scoring was widespread, and six players finished with points in double figures. Pitt committed 25 turnovers.

“I don’t need to look at the film. I could tell you: weak-side rebounding killed us, and our turnovers,” Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato said after the game. “They scored 32 points off of our turnovers, and look at the score. You can’t turn the ball over in the open court.”

Pitt senior Taneisha Harrison had a season-high 16 points, and seniors Brittaney Thomas and Shayla Scott contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively.


FOOTBALL: West Virginia vs. Pitt, 35-10

Pitt (6-5, 4-2 Big East) didn’t just lose to long-time rival West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East). They lost their chance to bring a Big East Championship back to Pittsburgh and probably lost their chance for a BCS bowl berth.

Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri threw an interception on the first drive that was returned to Pitt’s 2-yard line. The Mountaineers scored. But Pitt bounced back, on an 8-yard pass from Sunseri to Devin Street to tie the game.

From there, it was all downhill for the Panthers.

On the next Pitt possession, Dion Lewis fumbled. Then Ray Graham fumbled. When it was all over the Panthers finished with four total turnovers.

Lack of execution on both offense and defense plagued the Panthers.

“We had two or three opportunities to get points. You’re only going to get so many opportunities,” Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt said. “I really thought we’d play better today. We didn’t.”


MEN’S BASKETBALL: No. 5 Pitt vs. Penn, 82-58

The Panthers (7-0) showed their depth and versatility as they defeated the Penn Quakers at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday night.

Jamie Dixon utilized 11 players in total and they all reached double digits in scoring.

Ashton Gibbs had 12 points, and freshman J.J. Moore and Dante Taylor each contributed 11 points. Pitt’s bench even outscored the starters by a margin of 10 points.

It seemed that the main problem for the Quakers was their inability to match up physically with the Panthers or to stop Pitt’s fast break offense.

“I definitely think it’s unique and that it’s definitely special because of the fact that we have guys who come off the bench who have game experience,” senior forward Gil Brown said. “With J.J. Moore, Lamar Patterson and J.J. Richardson coming off the bench, it’s beneficial for us to have people who have experience from past years and prior games this season. I think they can only continue to grow and get better.”

The Pitt men’s basketball team returns to action Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center for the City Game against Duquesne.