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Pitt closes out Italy trip with win over Vicenza All-Stars

Ryan Murphy led the Panthers in scoring with 21 points

The Pitt men’s basketball team wrapped up its three-game series of exhibition games in Italy on Monday, logging a lopsided 104-41 victory over the Vicenza All-Stars in the town of Altavilla Vicentina. Ryan Murphy led all scorers with 21 points, and Pitt got double-digit point contributions from five other players.

The 63-point drubbing was Pitt’s biggest win of the trip, as it topped Saturday’s 103-53 defeat of the Florence All-Stars as well as Thursday’s 60-55 victory over the Netherlands National B Team. Prior to the trip to Italy, the Panthers had not posted a score of 100 points or more since they beat Marshall 112-106 on Dec. 28, 2016.

”This trip was about us getting better every day and us going from a unit to a team, and I thought game by game we improved,” Pitt assistant coach Jason Capel said in an interview. “I thought we did a nice job of being unselfish offensively, making the extra pass, trusting the offense, and trusting the ball to dictate the shots. The effort was good. Every man that came in really contributed, and it was a total team effort for the full contest.”

The game with the Vicenza All-Stars was close early on, as Pitt only led 22-16 at the end of the first quarter. However, the Panthers piled on and established a 37-20 lead with just under five minutes to go in the second quarter, and from there, things spun out of control for the host team. At the half, Pitt was up 49-27, and by the end of the third quarter, the score was 75-33. Pitt would then add 29 more points in the fourth and gave up only eight.

What was noteworthy was not the scoreline, given the game’s status as an exhibition, but the fact that Pitt got major contributions from several new members of the team. The Panthers also seemed to thrive with first-year players leading the way, which is a positive sign, given the Xavier Johnson era could be coming to an end after the 2019-20 season.

In addition to Murphy, whose 21 points and 8-of-13 shooting performance netted him player of the game honors from the hosts, Pitt got notable contributions from Karim Coulibaly, who posted an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double, and Eric Hamilton who fell one point shy of a double-double, with nine points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Justin Champagnie and Gerald Drumgoole chipped in 10 points apiece, and Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney contributed 12 points each in the Italian finale.

With all three games now in the books, the team is set to head home on Wednesday. Upon the Panthers’ return to Pittsburgh, less than three months will remain until their season opener against Florida State, which is set for Nov. 6.