Pitt kicked off its basketball season on Wednesday night with an exhibition matchup against Slippery Rock at the Petersen Events Center, and the result was a decisive 98-47 victory over the Division II team.
The Panthers were dominant in every facet of the game, as they built up a 28-9 lead and only allowed the visitors to shoot 5-of-22 from the field during the first 12 minutes of the game. By halftime, Pitt led by a score of 51-21, and the team’s only notable fault was that it was being outrebounded by Slippery Rock 24-19.
That issue would be remedied by the end of the game, as Pitt finished with 49 rebounds to Slippery Rock’s 38. In addition, the Panthers used a notable size advantage to outscore the Rock in the paint 50-24. Pitt’s Division II opponents also struggled to score from distance, as they made just one of 18 three-point shots in the competition and seemed unable to muster a rebuttal to the onslaught.
Five of Pitt’s players finished with double-digit point totals, and Xavier Johnson led the way with a game-high 17 points. However, the most well-rounded performance of the night came from Trey McGowens, who contributed 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in addition to a game-high eight assists and three rebounds.
The other three Panthers to finish in double digits were Gerald Drumgoole, who had 13 points and made seven of 10 foul shots; Ryan Murphy, who had 11 points and led Pitt with three made three-pointers; and Terrell Brown, who had 10 points and three rebounds.
Also of note is the fact that Justin Champagnie took part in the game despite a previous announcement that he would sit out until the season opener after recovering from an offseason knee injury. Over 18 minutes, the Brooklyn, New York, native amassed eight points, two rebounds and one assist.
Wednesday marked the fifth time Pitt and Slippery Rock met in an exhibition game as well as Pitt’s fifth win in the series. Next, Pitt will face Florida State at the Petersen Events Center on Nov. 6 in its season opener.