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Pitt Vs. Rider: Panthers Cut Mistakes, Defeat Broncs 87-68

The Panthers, as expected, had little trouble with Rider, winning 87-68.

Pitt started off slow, scoring only two points in the game's first five minutes, but it wasn't long before they got back on track. Rider entered the game as one of the nation's best three-point shooting teams, but could only convert on 33% of them on Saturday.

The last time Rider faced a ranked team they won, defeating No. 19 Mississippi State on the road by 14. The team also had a 20-point road win over USC this season, so they had some experience winning on the road. But that's different from playing the nation's No. 3 team that hardly ever loses at home.

For Pitt, Brad Wanamaker led the way with 16 points and 11 assists. Rider coach Tommy 'Don't call me Tom' Dempsey thinks a lot of Wanamaker's game:

"He's ice out there," Dempsey said of Wanamaker, who didn't commit a turnover. "He doesn't make a mistake, he doesn't take a bad shot."

No offense to Brad, but he obviously didn't see the Duquesne game on Wednesday. Wanamaker, to his credit, did acknowledge the bad game he had against Duquesne when he had seven turnovers:

"I had a tough game against Duquesne, but I put it behind me," said Wanamaker, who had seven turnovers in that game. "It's a long season. We've been working in practice on finding the open guy for shots."

Speaking of that Duquesne game, Wanamaker wasn't the only one who turned the ball over. Despite winning that game fairly comfortably, the Panthers had 19 turnovers. They seemed to fix that - at least for one game as they turned it over only six times against Rider. Jamie Dixon said what a lot of us knew after Duquesne - that it would be a point of emphasis:

"Our turnover number has been higher than usual," Dixon said. "We addressed it and did a good job. Our motion was better. Our execution of plays was a little bit better. That was a good step in the right direction."

Pitt's Gary McGhee and Dante Taylor also played well in the frontcourt, but they again faced an undersized team. I'll be interested to see how they fare against some teams with taller players.

The Panthers get another tuneup against Delaware State this week before taking on No. 17 Tennessee next Saturday as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge.