Oct. 31, 2010
PITTSBURGH—Junior Ashton Gibbs scored a game-high 25 points and senior Brad Wanamaker added a double-double (18 points, 10 assists) as the No. 5-ranked Pitt basketball team cruised past NAIA Division II Northwood, Fla. for a 104-62 exhibition win on Sunday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center. The victory marked Pitt’s 23rd consecutive exhibition win and improved Head Coach Jamie Dixon to 15-0 all-time in exhibition games.
“It’s a good starting place for us,” said Dixon, who is in his eighth year as Head Coach at Pitt. “We had some good performances.”
Pitt jumped out to a 23-0 lead early before Northwood’s Tyrone Davis hit a floater from the right side of the lane with 11:33 remaining in the first half. Northwood then made a run of its own to cut Pitt’s lead to 15, but Gibbs scored on consecutive possessions to bring the Panthers’ lead back to 20.
Pitt maintained the lead from there and led 48-26 at the half. Gibbs and Wanamaker combined for 29 points, seven assists and just one turnover in 28 total first-half minutes.
“I feel as though in the first 20 minutes we played good defense,” said Wanamaker, who finished the game with 18 points and a game-high 10 assists. “We got in transition and kind of took it away from them.”
The second half saw much of the same offensively for Pitt, as Gibbs opened up the period with consecutive 3-pointers to increase the lead. Gibbs finished the day 8-12 from the floor and connected on 5-8 3-point attempts. True freshman forward J.J. Moore scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half.
“He brings a lot of energy,” Dixon said of Moore. “I think that’s the thing that really attracted us to him.”
Redshirt freshman forward Talib Zanna added 13 points in the effort and pulled in a game-high nine rebounds. Redshirt sophomore guard Travon Woodall added 10 points and nine assists. The Panthers totaled 29 assists on 35 field goals made.
Pitt’s five starters included Gibbs, Wanamaker and Woodall at the guard spots, Zanna at forward and senior Gary McGhee at center. McGhee had seven points and four rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
Jonathan Dunn paced the Seahawks with 24 points. Northwood, which is ranked No. 12 nationally in the NAIA Division II preseason poll, is coached by Rollie Massamino, a 35-year college basketball coaching vet who guided Villanova to the 1985 national title.
“He’s an icon in our league and nationally,” Dixon said of Massamino. “He’s had quite a career.”
Pitt is back in action on Thursday night when it hosts Indiana, Pa., at the Petersen Events Center for the season’s second exhibition game. IUP is coached by former Pitt assistant Joe Lombardi, who led the Crimson Hawks to a berth in the NCAA Division II national championship game last year. Tipoff for that contest is set for 7 p.m.
EXHIBITION GAME NOTES
*Pitt’s won its 23rd consecutive exhibition game. The last time the Panthers lost an exhibition matchup was Nov. 10, 1998 against Marathon Oil (92-90 loss).
*Pitt reached 100 points in an exhibition game for the eighth time in history and the fifth time under Head Coach Jamie Dixon. Pitt’s previous 100-point exhibition-game performances under Jamie Dixon include wins against 320 All-Stars (101-85 on Nov. 5, 2003), Slippery Rock (100-42 on Nov. 5, 2005), Carnegie Mellon (103-45 on Nov. 1, 2006) and Seton Hill (102-51 on Nov. 2, 2008). Pitt’s 104 points was its second-best historically (108 vs. Soviet Union on Nov. 24, 1989).
*NCAA teams were cleared to play one exhibition game per year in 1981 and were authorized to play two exhibition games per year in 1989. NCAA Division I teams were cleared to schedule other NCAA Division institutions in 2004.