Men’s Basketball: Pitt pounds Northwood

By Alex Oltmanns

Defense and rebounding.

Those have been two of the key ingredients in the Pitt men’s… Defense and rebounding.

Those have been two of the key ingredients in the Pitt men’s basketball program’s success over the last decade, and it looks as if that’s going to continue again this season.

The Panthers defeated Northwood University 104-62 yesterday in their exhibition opener at the Petersen Events Center. Northwood plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), an athletic association for small colleges.

Pitt out-rebounded the Seahawks 39-25 and held them scoreless until a Tyrone Davis basket made the score 23-2 in favor of the Panthers with 11:31 left in the first half.

“It started on the defensive end. We really came out strong,” junior guard Ashton Gibbs said. “It affected our offense. We got easy transition breaks.”

Another trend that looks like it will continue this season is Gibbs’ hot shooting.

Gibbs finished with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting including 5 for 8 from 3-point range.

“Gibbs was terrific tonight shooting the ball,” Northwood head coach and former Villanova coaching great Rollie Massimino said.

Three Panthers sat out with injuries — Nasir Robinson, who will be out three to six weeks with a knee injury, did not dress. Gil Brown and Lamar Patterson are day-to-day with hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively.

Their absence allowed guard Travon Woodall and redshirt freshman forward Talib Zanna to crack the starting lineup, and they made the most of the opportunity.

Zanna had 13 points and nine rebounds while Woodall had 10 points and nine assists.

“We saw the improvement in Talib last year. Even though he redshirted we saw that he was maybe our best rebounder on the team,” senior guard Brad Wanamaker said. “Today he had some open opportunities and we took advantage of it.”

Wanamaker contributed 18 points and 10 assists while freshman J.J. Moore had 17 points, including three 3-pointers in his first game in a Panthers uniform.

“[Moore] is shooting the ball well. He brings a lot of energy to practice and he plays hard too,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “That’s the thing that really attracted us to him watching him play while recruiting him. I think that’s what’s going to continue to help him improve.”

The Panthers will play their second exhibition game on Thursday against Indiana University (Pa.) before starting the regular season Nov. 8 against Rhode Island.