Men’s basketball: Robinson, Wanamaker lead Panthers past Kent State

By Kelly Flanigan

Most students were hitting the books in preparation for finals week when Pitt (7-2) defeated… Most students were hitting the books in preparation for finals week when Pitt (7-2) defeated Kent State (5-3) 71-59 yesterday afternoon.

The Panthers came ready to play from the start of the first half, as Nasir Robinson grabbed two rebounds for easy put-backs to give Pitt an early spark.

“We had a good start. We came out and threw some really good passes. Ashton [Gibbs] and Brad [Wanamaker] made some outside shots. We know they are going to come and play every night. We finished on the inside, so I think we got a good start,” Robinson said.

Robinson converted on three second attempts in the paint, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds.

“We just took our time, and finished strong. Coach always preaches to us in practice that we have to go up to our defender’s chest instead of fading away,” Robinson said.

Robinson struggled in the two previous games against New Hampshire and Indiana, but showed great presence on the boards tonight.

“There were a couple of rough games. It happens. I just tried to come out focused and tried not to make the mistakes I made in the past two games,” he said.

Junior Brad Wanamaker was Pitt’s high-scorer with 18 points. He shot 5-of-7 from the field, made all three attempts from behind the arc and collected eight rebounds.

“I’ve been constantly working. The coaches have been telling me to get in the gym and shoot. Now when I have the opportunity, I take advantage,” Wanamaker said.

Travon Woodall and Ashton Gibbs each contributed 10 points and combined for nine total assists.

Jermaine Dixon played in only his second game tonight since returning from an injury that kept him out for six months. Dixon said it was great to be back and help his teammates out, but that his foot was slightly sore.

“It’s always great to have Jermaine on the court. He brings something different than we have. He brings the enthusiasm and intensity that makes you want to go hard on the court,” Wanamaker said of teammate.

Dixon had five points, three of which were the result of a strong drive to the hoop as well as converting on the free throw — a combination very characteristic of Dixon’s play.

Overall, head coach Jamie Dixon was pleased with his team’s progression and performance.

“I really was happy how we came out and showed some improvement,” he said. “I was happy with a lot of things we did. We know where we need to be. Kent State is a very good team. I’ve watched them play a lot of games and a lot of teams. They play a lot of road games and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win a lot of games.”

The Golden Flashes were led by Justin Greene with 17 points and Chris Singletary with 23 points, who also just came off of a knee injury.

Frank Henry-Ala and Tyree Evans contributed 10 and 11 points, respectively, for Kent State.

As important as this win was for the basketball team, it was helpful for the football program as well. Head coach Dave Wannstadt, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Baldwin, and Dorin Dickerson came out to support the Panthers as they hosted football recruits.

Pitt will take on Mount St. Mary’s at the Petersen Events Center next Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.