Pitt Handles SRU in ‘Tune-Up’ Game, 98-47
[Pittsburgh,Pa] When the Pitt Panthers faced Division II Slippery Rock, the expectations were to get a good tune-up, while showcasing several new players, which included freshmen and Graduate-Transfers. After all, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Florida State is just a week away, and they want to have their ‘A’ Game, right?
Well, the Panthers showed plenty of ‘A ‘Game vs. The Rock as they soundly defeated them 98-47 at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt never trailed in this game and lead by an average of 40-45 points most of the game. It worked so well for Pitt that head coach Jeff Capel used 18 different lineups in the game.
“I’m pleased with some of things that we did today.” Said Capel “I’m very appreciative of Slippery Rock for giving us this game, for playing us, for giving us the opportunity to play against someone else. It’s kind of one final rehearsal before everything gets real. I thought number 10 for them, [Jared] Armstrong, has been a heck of a player and I thought he played well tonight. We really tried to get after him. I thought we rebounded better in the second half, but I wasn’t pleased with how we rebounded the basketball in the first half.”
Five Panthers scored in double-figures as Xavier Johnson led with 17. Trey McGowens had 15, followed by freshman Gerald Drumgole with 13. Junior-Transfer Ryan Murphy had 11 (which included a team-leading three 3-pointers) and Terrell Brown who is one of the veterans of the group, scored a quick 10 points in just 13 minutes.
Au’Dese Toney added 9 points and Freshman Justin Champagnie scored 8.
As for the rebounding, The Panthers ended up out-rebounding The Rock 49-38 with freshman
Abdoul Karim Coulibaly leading with 8, followed by Drumgole and Graduate-Transfer Eric
Hamilton with 5.
“I thought in the first half they missed a lot of shots and they were just quicker to the ball. We didn’t do as good a job of keeping guys out of the paint, so a lot of the time our big guys were away from the basket because they were coming over in help situations. I thought that played a part into it. I thought in the second half, right away Eric Hamilton, we challenged him and Terrell Brown at halftime. Eric right away in the second half set the tone going after defensive rebounds. I thought that was really, good. It’s kind of became contagious for us. We know as we go forward, we are going to play against bigger teams, better teams, and we have to do a really good job there.”
Pitt added runs of 13-4 and 12-2 in the opening 14 minutes of action to take 40-13 lead with 5:01 remaining in the first half. Murphy closed out the half with a step-back three from the left baseline to give the Panthers a 51-21 advantage at the break.
Will Robinson, Jr., led The Rock with 14 points, while Jared Armstrong added 12 points and
three assists. The Panthers improve to 61-5 all-time in exhibition games, including a 31-0 mark at the Petersen Events Center as well as 5-0 all-time against Slippery Rock in exhibition contests.
The Panthers open the 2019-20 season Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Petersen Events Center against ACC foe Florida State (8 p.m. – ESPNU). Pitt topped the then-No. 11 Seminoles last season behind a 30-point night from McGowens.
“We’ve got to get ready.” Said Capel. “We’ve got to ramp things up. One of the reasons we
wanted to scrimmage Maryland was preparation for Florida State. We know that they’re going to be very talented, they’re going to be big and athletic, they’re going to play really, hard, and defend you. We knew we would not get that in exhibitions. We were very strategic in what we did. Maryland is a top-five, top-10 team. They’re really, good and they have size, athleticism, and experience. Hopefully what we’ll do in preparation over the next six days will have us prepared.”
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