Men’s basketball: Panthers show their depth once again

By Alex Oltmanns

North Florida simply didn’t have enough to outlast the No. 5 Pitt men’s basketball team… North Florida simply didn’t have enough to outlast the No. 5 Pitt men’s basketball team Saturday night.

After traveling to Pittsburgh and just playing Florida State in Tallahassee at 9 p.m. the night before, North Florida was at a major disadvantage.

 The Ospreys simply didn’t have enough firepower, or energy, to knock off the Panthers, as they fell 95-49.

 “Obviously North Florida was in a tough situation with the travel,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said in the post game press conference. “We were in a situation where we caught them with travel. They were at a bit of a disadvantage in that regard.”

Pitt (3-0) got off to a quick start and never looked back, leading 20-8 after only 10 minutes of action.

Five Pitt players scored in double figures, led by J.J. Moore’s 19 points off the bench. The Panthers bench scored 47 total points and Moore’s big game is an example of that.

“It shows that we’re deep. Everybody works, we see it in practice,” senior guard Brad Wanamaker said in the press conference. “We know everybody can score but we just came out today and our bench put some big numbers up and J.J. [Moore] showed what he could do.”

The Panthers outrebounded North Florida (0-2) 59-28, gaining more offensive rebounds (32) than the Ospreys had total.

Pitt forward Dante Taylor led the Panthers in total rebounds with 11 and offensive rebounds with seven while scoring seven points as well.

Taylor attributes his strong offensive rebounding to hard work with in practice.

“I’m used to my teammates in practice so I know when they’re going to shoot it so I just try and get to the spot,” Taylor said after the game.

Forward Andres Diaz led the Ospreys, a team picked to finish seventh in the 11-team Atlantic Sun Conference in the preseason coaches poll.

The game was a homecoming for North Florida head coach Matthew Driscoll who got his first coaching job at his alma mater, nearby Northgate high school in 1988, before moving on to coach at several other local schools.

“It’s a special place, Pittsburgh, it really is. The last time I was here they had just tore down the stadium and they were just making this particular venue (Petersen Events Center),” Driscoll said.

The win marks Pitt’s 50th consecutive victory against nonconference opponents and they will try to extend that streak  on Thursday in their next game against Maryland at Madison Square Garden.