This one went about as expected as Pitt had no trouble with La Roche College today in their first exhibition game of the basketball season.
Actually, when you think about it, Pitt was probably even a bit more dominant than expected. Rarely do Pitt teams beat anybody by 68 points, and this one was never close. Yes, I know that it's La Roche and not even a poor Division I team. But with such a young team, the Panthers looked good in this one. And winning beats the alternative.
Okay, the big question is obviously, what about Khem Birch's debut? Well, I didn't go to the game, so I can't say first hand. But I will say that his final line of 16 points and five rebounds was a bit misleading. Ten of those points and three of the rebounds came in the final five minutes when it was garbage time. Heck, it was a blowout so I guess the whole game was garbage time, but things were clearly out of hand by that point. He played in 21 minutes (unofficially) just behind Talib Zanna's 22, so he got plenty of time. But how can you not be pleased that he was 7-7 from the field as well.
I'm well on record as saying Birch won't put up those types of scoring numbers this season and to compare him scoring 16 against La Roche to even scoring 16 against DePaul are two entirely different things. But Birch will contribute this season ... the question remains, how much?
But there was plenty to digest besides his game.Nasir Robinson, as expected, didn't play. He's still looking as if he should be back by the opener, though.
Others in double figures in scoring were Ashton Gibbs (15), J.J. Moore (12), and Travon Woodall (11). Collectively, Pitt shot 61% from the field to La Roche's 25%. In other words: La Roche offense, meet Pitt defense.
Speaking of Woodall, he also had a good game, going for 11 points and seven assists in only 17 minutes. He also converted three of four three-pointers. Also of note was Dante Taylor's near double double (nine points and nine rebounds). The bench scored 50 points and everyone made at least one basket other than little-used Aron Nwankwo.
These games are not much more than the Greentree Summer League games (except there's stiffer competition there, obviously). We can't really take much away from this one other than it was good to get some freshman actual game experience. But there's nothing to dislike about this game.
Will get a box score up if I can find one.