Oct. 29, 2011
PITTSBURGH—The No. 10 ranked Pitt men’s basketball team opened its 2011-12 season with its largest exhibition win in school history, a 101-33 win over NCAA Division III La Roche College Saturday at the Petersen Events Center.
Prior to tipoff, Pitt honored former La Roche College head coach Scott Lang and the 2010-11 Redhawk basketball team with a video tribute, which featured team highlights and interviews with Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon and director of basketball operations Brian Regan. The Oakland Zoo handed out white stickers with red letters “S.L.” for Scott Lang. Last December, Lang collapsed at center court during a practice and was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died at the age of 41. Coach Harry Jenkins took over the team and guided the squad to a 25-3 overall record, which included a 16-game win streak, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference regular season title and AMCC tournament title. La Roche players claim that Lang has been with them ever since.
Pitt won its 25th consecutive exhibition game and Dixon improved to a perfect 17-0 in exhibition contests. The 68-point win also marked the largest exhibition win in school history, surpassing a 58-point victory over Carnegie Mellon on Nov. 1, 2006. Pitt also scored 100 or more points in an exhibition game for the eighth time in school history.
Pitt shot 60.3 percent (38-63) from the floor, converted 11-18 3-point field goals and outrebounded La Roche 42-24. Pitt also earned assists on 27 of its 38 field goal attempts.
Freshman Khem Birch led the Panthers with a game-high 16 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting day. Senior Ashton Gibbs added 15 points and four assists, sophomore J.J. Moore added 12 points, junior Tray Woodall scored 11 points, finished with seven assists and hit 3-4 3-pointers in only 17 minutes. Junior center Dante Taylor also finished with nine points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
La Roche was led by Mike Dixon’s 14 points.
Pitt built a 45-17 halftime lead, using a 12-0, four-minute run before intermission. Led by 11 points from Gibbs, the Panthers converted 6-8 3-point field goals in the half.
Pitt’s meeting with La Roche marked the second exhibition meeting between the two schools. Pitt defeated La Roche, 82-30, on November 9, 2008.
Following the contest, Pitt hosted its annual meet and greet event with the Oakland Zoo.
On Friday, it was announced that Pitt would enter the 2011-12 season ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press preseason poll. Pitt will also enter the year ranked No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, which was released on Oct. 20.
Pitt will play its second exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 7 against Kentucky Wesleyan at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff for that contest is 7 p.m.