As you would expect, Pitt had little trouble with Lehigh to win their fourth straight game of the young basketball season.
The Panthers were never really challenged in this one. The start wasn't quite as lopsided as it was against Howard when Pitt opened the game 18-1, but after a three-pointer by Lehigh's Austin Price cut the Pitt lead to 12-9, the Panthers got serious and went on a 22-2 run. That was fueled largely by Durand Johnson who had a pretty good game.
DJ made three of the first four field goals over that stretch and they were all three-pointers. All told, he had 15 points, all on three-pointers. Johnson displayed some of the gunner mentality we've seen before and despite the hot start, still only finished 5-12 from the field. But if you watched the game, you saw that he provided a great spark and some incredible energy off of the bench. In addition this five rebounds (second on the team), he had a nice steal and led a fast break, passing it off for an assisted basket. I'd still like to see him reign it in a bit when it comes to shooting - it seems that whenever he makes a basket or two, his thought is immediately to take as many shots as he can. But overall, he was a really important player for Pitt tonight.
Talib Zanna led the way for Pitt and had one of those breakout games we hope to see more of, leading the team in points (23 - a career-high) and rebounds (14). The big man had four turnovers, but hey, hard to be too upset with that after a 20/10 night. Would also be remiss if I didn't mention Lamar Patterson's 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists. He just contributes a lot and even in games when he doesn't score, just finds ways to be involved doing other things. On nights like tonight when he does score, he really has big games.
One guy who might not get a lot of credit was James Robinson. He had only two points and continues to make me think his shooting woes might continue this year. But Robinson had 11 assists to no turnovers - a pretty special performance. Afterwards when asked by the ESPNU reporter, Dixon didn't start with Zanna, DJ, or Lamar - he made sure to give Robinson credit first. Robinson now has 18 assists to only four turnovers on the year, good for insane assist/turnover ratio of nearly 5:1.
One thing I wasn't real impressed with was a bit of apathy in the second half by the team. The Panthers were actually outscored 35-30 in that second half and despite bench players getting more time, losing a half at home to a weak team really shouldn't be happening. Pitt had six turnovers in that half and shot only 40% over the final 20 minutes as well.
The free throw shooting also took a step back. Pitt got to the line a season-low 14 times and at 8-14, only made 57% of their shots.
That said, the Panthers did far too much to complain about. They won by 19, nearly doubled up Lehigh in rebounds (44-23, unofficially), and had only nine turnovers.
Pitt takes on their first major-conference opponent next in a game on Monday against Texas Tech.