Oct. 25, 2013
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PITTSBURGH--Pitt used an 11-0 run down the stretch to defeat NCAA Division II UC San Diego 72-59 in an exhibition game Friday evening before 5,813 fans at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt plays its second exhibition game next Friday evening when it hosts Slippery Rock at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN3 and locally on www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
With game-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds, senior Talib Zanna led four Pitt players in double figures. Senior Lamar Patterson added 16 points, freshman Michael Young scored eight of his 11 points down the stretch and sophomore James Robinson contributed 10 points and six assists.
Pitt led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but UC San Diego battled back into the game with clutch shooting and eventually tied the contest at 49-49 with 7:46 remaining. The Titons took advantage of 3-pointers by James McCann and Drew Dyer to tie the contest.
Young sparked Pitt's 11-0 run. He converted a 3-point play on a rebound putback to give the Panthers a 58-54 lead with 4:40 to go. Following a UC-San Diego jumper, he scored on another 3-point play when he was fouled on a jump shot. Zanna followed with back-to-back layups and Pitt suddenly had the game under control. In the end, Pitt outscored UC San Diego 23-10 over the game's final 7:46.
"We made some plays down the stretch," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "I thought we adjusted because we had to do some stuff we hadn't practiced a lot but we adjusted how we guarded their ball screens and it was effective down the stretch so we probably should have done that a little earlier."
"Nobody in the locker room feels real good about how we played but that's good, we're definitely not over-confident after tonight and we recognize that. You have to give them a lot of credit.
Pitt outscored UC San Diego 30-12 in the paint. The Titons hit 10-24 3-pointers and were only outrebounded 33-29. MacKenzie McCullough and McCann both led UC San Diego with 13 points apiece.
"I was really pleased with our effort, I thought our guys really fought and battled all night," UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen said. "That's a really good team we played against and I'm really pleased with our effort. We were fortunate to get the ball to go in the basket a little bit and hang around for a little while. For us it's really encouraging and it gives our guys some confidence and something to build on moving forward."
Pitt led 32-24 at halftime. Patterson led the Panthers in the first half with 10 points on two 3-pointers including a key three before the half.
Pitt starters included guards James Robinson and Cameron Wright, forwards Lamar Patterson and Durand Johnson and center Talib Zanna. Freshmen Jamel Artis, Young and Josh Newkirk were the first players off the bench for Pitt. Forwards Derrick Randall and Joseph Uchebo did not dress. Randall is expected to play next Friday.
The October 25 date was the earliest Pitt Basketball had ever played an exhibition game. Last year, Pitt hosted Indiana, Pa. on October 26.
PITT-UC SAN DIEGO GAME NOTES
*The game was setup by former UC San Diego head coach and former Pitt Director of Operations Chris Carlson. Carlson, who is now the Associate Commissioner for Men's Basketball at the West Coast Conference, worked with Jamie Dixon at Pitt from 2001-03. Carlson was the head coach at UC San Diego until a few weeks ago.
*Friday's game on October 25 against UC San Diego is the earliest Pitt has ever had an exhibition game. Previously, October 26 was the earliest date set last year against Indiana, Pa.
*Pitt has won 29 consecutive exhibition games dating back to a 92-90 loss to Marathon Oil on November 3, 1999.
*Pitt is now 53-5 all-time in exhibition games.
*Jamie Dixon owns a perfect 21-0 all-time record in exhibition games.