Oct. 22, 2011
PITTSBURGH—Pitt fans had an opportunity to view the 2011-12 men’s basketball team in action on Saturday night when the No. 11 ranked Panthers took part in their annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage at the Petersen Events Center. The Blue team, led by Ashton Gibbs’ game-high 26 points, captured a 57-49 decision.
A preseason All-America and preseason Big East Player of the Year selection, Gibbs led all scorers with 26 points and four assists on 7-13 shooting and 10-10 free throw shooting. He scored 15 points in the second half in leading the Blue Team on a decisive 7-0 run midway through the second half. Leading 35-34, Gibbs’ two free throws began the run, redshirt freshman Isaiah Epps followed with a 3-pointer and two more Gibbs free throws gave the Blue Team a 42-34 lead with 7:29 to go. The Gold Team cut the lead down to three points, 49-46, with two Dante Taylor free throws, but senior Nick Rivers answered with two clutch 3-pointers for the Blue squad to push the lead back to seven points (55-48) with 1:19 remaining.
Sophomore J.J. Moore led the Gold Team with 18 points (6-15 FG) and three 3-pointers. Junior Dante Taylor added 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds (eight offensive), junior Tray Woodall added nine points and four assists and freshman Khem Birch scored eight points and blocked three shots. For the Blue Team, Epps hit three 3-pointers for nine points and sophomore Lamar Patterson added eight points.
The annual scrimmage marked fans’ first glimpse of Pitt freshmen Birch, Malcolm Gilbert, Durand Johnson and John Johnson.
Pitt played two 16-minute halves with normal media timeouts. Following the scrimmage, Pitt staged a dunk contest that featured defending champion Moore, Birch and sophomore Aron Nwankwo. Moore defeated Nwankwo in the final round. Former Pitt greats Curtis Aiken, Sam Clancy and Julius Page judged the contest. The evening also featured an appearance from DeJuan Blair.
For the second consecutive year, the Blue-Gold Scrimmage was televised live on Pitt Panthers Television (Comcast Network Channels 188 or 210, depending on where viewers reside) with Greg Linnelli and Coach Dixon calling action. The broadcast also features an interview with injured senior Nasir Robinson, who helped judge the dunk contest, along with post-game interviews.
The Blue-Gold Scrimmage followed Fan Fest and the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair. The activities featured various fan-oriented events throughout the Petersen Events Center including an autograph session with members of the Pitt Basketball team, CPR and AED training, free blood pressure and health screenings and educational heart health displays. Fan Fest was sponsored by Sunkist, UPMC Health Plan, UPMC and Chevrolet. Prior to the day’s festivities, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl proclaimed the day “Maggie Dixon Day.”
Earlier this week, Pitt was ranked No. 11 nationally in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll. It was picked to finish fourth in the Big East Conference by league coaches.
Pitt’s first exhibition game is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 against La Roche College. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.
BLUE-GOLD TEAM ROSTERS
Blue Team: Isaiah Epps, Ashton Gibbs, Lamar Patterson, Malcolm Gilbert, Talib Zanna, Durand Johnson, Nick Rivers, Aron Nwankwo; Coaches: Brandin Knight, Bill Barton, Jason Richards.
Gold Team: Tray Woodall, Cameron Wright, Dante Taylor, Khem Birch, J.J. Moore, John Johnson, Aron Nwankwo; Coaches: Pat Sandle, Brian Regan, Jordan Marks.