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Men's Basketball Wins Season Opener 80-48

Talib Zanna dunks in front of Mount St. Mary's Kristijan Krajina during the first half.

Talib Zanna dunks in front of Mount St. Mary's Kristijan Krajina during the first half.

Nov. 9, 2012

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes |  Boxscore (pdf) |  Game Action 

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Talib Zanna scored a career-high 20 points and Pittsburgh had little trouble in an 80-48 win over Mount St. Mary's on Friday night.

Tray Woodall added 14 points and six assists for the Panthers, who improved to 10-0 in season openers under coach Jamie Dixon. Highly touted freshman center Steven Adams had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 26 minutes for Pitt.

The Panthers set a school record by shooting 70 percent (34 of 48) from the field.

Xavier Owens led the Mountaineers with 15 points and Rashad Whack added 11 but Mount St. Mary's couldn't keep up with the bigger, deeper Panthers.

Pitt outscored Mount St. Mary's 58-14 in the paint and shut Mount St. Mary's down following a slow start. The Panthers broke it open with a 12-0 run to start the second half.

The Mountaineers are in the midst of rebuilding under first-year coach Jamion Christian. The 30-year-old Christian is the third-youngest coach in Division I and spent last season as an assistant to Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart. It certainly showed in the first half, as Mount St. Mary's hardly bothered to enter the lane against the bigger, more athletic Panthers.

Instead, the Mountaineers hoisted up 3-pointer after 3-pointer. For a while, it worked.

 Quick Facts
...Pitt improved its record in the series against Mount St. Mary's, which began in 1912, to 5-0.
...Pitt is now 71-1 all-time vs. opponents from the Northeast Conference.
...The Panthers have now won 16 consecutive season-openers and are a perfect 10-0 under Coach Dixon.
...Since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002, Pitt owns a 45-1 record in November non-conference games.
 

Mount St. Mary's hit six 3s in the first eight minutes, taking a brief 18-17 lead and getting Dixon so angry he called time out.

Eventually, the Mountaineers cooled off.

Pitt never did.

The Panthers were nearly flawless offensively during the first half, shooting 75 percent (18 of 24) from the field, many of them layups off baskets in transition or steals.

They were almost as good in the second. Getting into the lane whenever they wanted, the Panthers pounded the Mountaineers with the kind of crisp offensive execution that hardly made it look like they were playing in the season opener. Pitt's field goal percentage broke the school record of 69.8 set against George Washington in 1980.

The Panthers are looking for redemption in their final season in the Big East before heading to the ACC. Pitt is coming off a disappointing 2011-12 campaign in which it missed the NCAA tournament for the first time under Dixon.

The influx of Adams, freshman point guard James Robinson and Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler give the Panthers extra depth.