Panthers beat Chaminade to advance in Maui

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Panthers beat Chaminade to advance in Maui

By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

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It came down to one of Jamie Dixon’s coaching pillars: rebounding.

After a rocky start on its trip to Maui, the Pitt men’s basketball team recovered to beat Chaminade 82-68in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational Monday night as it outrebounded the Silverswords rebounds.

Playing in its third of four quarterfinal games through Monday, Pitt won behind the efforts of Michael Young, who scored a career-high 27 points.

The Panthers lost their first game of the season to Hawaii Friday night by a score of 74-70. Dixon, Pitt’s head coach, worked as an assistant coach at Hawaii in 1992-94 and 1998-99, but could not beat the Rainbow Warriors.

However, he beat the Silverswords Monday to move on to the next round of the tournament, which will continue Tuesday.

Redshirt sophomore Chris Jones scored a career-high 19 points on Friday, but he followed that up with zero points on Monday.

Pitt appeared to want to exploit Chaminade’s lack of depth early, feeding the ball to sophomore forward/center Young. The Silverswords only have three forwards on their roster and, like Hawaii, played with at least three guards on the floor most of the game, causing some matchup problems for the Panthers.

Pitt outrebounded Chaminade 51-17, and senior center Derrick Randall contributed 21 reboundsof his own, setting a new tournament record.

Several members of Pitt’s freshman class logged meaningful minutes in the game. Guard Cameron Johnson played 22 minutes and scored ninepoints. Forward Ryan Luther chipped in three points in 11minutes as well.

But early on, the game was reminiscent of the loss to Hawaii. Pitt led 18-17 with nine minutes left to play in the first half before guard Josh Newkirk sparked a quick 8-0 run to open up a six-point lead.

After taking a 42-31 lead into halftime, the Panthers maintained their double-digit lead for most of the start of the second half, extending it to a high of 18.

Kuany Kuany and Kevin Hu led Chaminade in scoring with 12 points each.

Pitt moves on in the tournament to play in the semifinal Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST on ESPN.

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