After an early blitz by Fresno State, Pitt stormed back for a convincing 75-54 win over Fresno State on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs came out shooting well and had an early 8-2 lead. Pitt, in fact, didn't lead until about midway in the first quarter when they went ahead 16-15. From there, though, it was all Panthers. A 22-3 run later and it was she wrote.
We spend a lot of time talking about coaching adjustments on the football side of things by Paul Chryst and company. While they sometimes don't always do what we want, Jamie Dixon pulled off a great change. With Fresno State shooting so well early on, he actually went to a zone.
Sounds like a curious move, right? Usually you do that if you don't mind a team shooting from the outside. But the look completely confused Fresno State and took away a lot of the great passes they were making earlier. After the switch, the Bulldogs went something like 2-15 from the field with nine turnovers.
Looks like Dixon had that one right.
Looking at the individual players, it was clearly Talib Zanna who stuck out. He had 19 points and ten rebounds, making eight of his ten shots in his debut after missing the opener against Savannah State. The big man looked fresh all night long and Fresno State had no answer for him inside. This point has been made before, but at center, he's so quick that a lot of guys will have a hard time guarding him. He won't dominate against better competition this year, but he'll more than hold his own.
Cam Wright looked excellent as well. He had one of those all around games that Brad Wanamaker used to have, doing a little of everything. He led the team in scoring at the half with ten, and finished second on the team with 13. Cam also added six rebounds, a team-high four steals, and two assists, with only one turnover. I made the Wanamaker comparison at the end of last year and while it's early this season, I really think that will hold true. I was crushed by some for that opinion earlier, but with the scrimmages and two solid games under his belt, he really is a player that should take a big step forward this year.
I missed the first game so I didn't catch Derrick Randall's big game against Savannah State. He had some down moments including a horrible shot attempt while double teamed, having a rebound stolen from him, and three fouls in limited minutes, but overall wasn't terrible with seven points and six rebounds off the bench. Like I said earlier, if Pitt gets anything from him other than depth, it will be a bonus.
Also, really impressed with Mike Young. Just an athletic kid who is getting some great on the job training this year. He had nine rebounds tonight and while he's not yet a great scorer, he has star written all over him. He'll have a really good chance of being the team's leader in a couple of seasons when he's a junior.
Lamar Patterson had another frustrating night. He's just capable of doing so many other things when he's not scoring, though, that it all kind of comes out in the wash. He was only 2-10 from the field, but also had seven assists and made three of his four free throws. A few of those assists were really nice passes, too. Just wish he'd be more of a consistent scorer and, sadly, I think Pitt knows what it has in him. I just don't see him breaking out this year and think we'll get pretty much the same player we had last season.
Overall, a 21-point win over a team that has kept it close against some major programs is hard to complain about.