Pittsburgh 74 – Robert Morris 53
One thing Jamie Dixon coached teams do is win non-conference home games as the Panthers improved to 100-1 in their past 101 non-conference home games in defeating Robert Morris 74-53 on Tuesday night at the Petersen Events Center.
The No. 5 Panthers (6-0) improved to 29-0 All-time against Robert Morris and 69-0 against Northeast Conference teams.
The Colonials kept things close in the 1st half but the Panthers pulled away in the 2nd half, behind a 20 point effort from Ashton Gibbs who led the Panthers in scoring.
Brad Wanamaker scored 17 points and Gary McGhee had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers.
Gilbert Brown athleticism was on stage as Brown made a high flying soaring dunk that jumpstarted a 14-2 run for the Panthers. Brown had 11 points and 2 blocks in the game.
“It was a good win for us against a team that I anticipate being at the top of the North Eastern Conference and I hope they make it to the NCAA Tournament, head coach Jamie Dixon said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for their program and their commitment to basketball. They’re good and they played hard and we’re good and we played hard.”
Pitt had a significant size advantage over the Colonials and dominated on the boards, out-rebounding Robert Morris 51-36 in the game.
Nasir Robinson had 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes and Dante Taylor added 6 rebounds to go along with McGhee’s game high 12 rebounds. Brad Wanamaker collected 7 rebounds playing a strong all-around game.
“I’m happy with our rebounding, we out rebounded them by 16 and we held them to 30 percent shooting from the field, ” Dixon said. “We didn’t guard the bank shots as well, but that means we played pretty good defense. We got better in the second half as far as ball and player movement and that helped us. We’ll get better before we prepare for Penn on Saturday.”
Gibbs and Wanamaker combined for 37 points in the game and were a combined 6-for-12 from 3-point range.
“They’re {Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker) just good, ” Dixon said. “They are and have been good for us and anticipated that they would be for us when we recruited them. They can and will get better as the season goes on because they’ve improved their whole careers here. That’s the best feeling a coach can have. It’s about wanting to get better and having the ability to get better and they both have it. They’re good and they play well together.”
Dixon was very pleased his team’s defensive effort but turnovers were an issue for Pitt as they had 15 in the game. Dixon stresses a high standard when it comes to limiting turnovers and it’s an area that will likely be a primary focus in the next couple practices.
“You’ve got to look at different things, we held them to 30 percent, we out rebounded them by 15, then we go to the negative of 15 turnovers which is higher that we want it, ” Dixon said… “We shoot for 12. For most teams, they aim for 15, we set our standards higher and strive for 12. We’re always one of the lowest in the country for most teams.”
Top 5
Ashton Gibbs – (7-15 – 20 pts – 1 Rebound – 3 Assists)
Brad Wanamaker – (4-9 – 17 Pts – 7 Rebounds – 3 Assists – 2BLK)
Gary McGhee – (4-6 – 11 Pts – 12 Rebounds – 1BLK)
Gilbert Brown – (5-7 – 11 Pts – 1 Rebound – 1 Assist – 2BLK)
Dante Taylor – (3-5 – 6 Pts – 6 Rebounds)