Pitt continued its roll through the non-conference schedule with a 89-40 win over Bethune-Cookman, Saturday night. The 49-point margin marks the largest in the history of the Petersen Events Center.
"Obviously happy with how we played," head coach Jamie Dixon said. "We played unselfishly all the way through. We played with a big lead to the end, which says a lot about our guys."
Bethune-Cookman kept it close in the early going, as Pitt never led by more than six points in the first ten minutes of the game.
Pitt took control in the paint in the final ten minutes of the first half; 12 points in the final 10 minutes on its way to a 20-point halftime lead. The Panthers closed the first half with a 16-5 run over the final five minutes. Dixon went back to his starting five during the stretch. Moore led all scorers with 14 points in the first half, as Pitt built a 44-24 lead. The 11 rebounds marks the lowest opponent total in the Jamie Dixon era.
It was a big game for freshman Steven Adams. It might not be Big East play, but the freshman seven-footer is showcasing some development. Adams set a new career-high with 16 points, to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds. J.J. Moore led all scorers with 18.>
In his last three games, Adams is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. In his first eight games, he was averaging 5.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.
"Steve played well, and is continuing to improve," Dixon said. "It's great to see him unselfish. He's working hard to get better every day."
"We're seeing a lot of progress," Moore said of Adams. "He's finishing high to the basket more. He's doing a very good job. I think he is playing with a lot more confidence. Before every game, I look to pump him up. It's something that he looks up to from me. I just try to get him to play hard."
Dante Taylor led Pitt with 11 rebounds, while Adams added his 10. Dixon, who in earlier non-conference games, has wanted to see better play in this area, felt good about his team's performance tonight. Pitt had a significant 40-11 edge in rebounding for the night.
Pitt assisted on 28 of its 37 field goals on the night, led by Travon Woodall with 10 assists. Woodall's career-high in assists is 13 in 2009. Dixon said that among an impressive night in feeding the ball, and a significant improvement in rebounding, it's the assist numbers he's more excited about.
"I just think when we were up big, we continued to take shots and were unselfish," Dixon said. "In a game with a pretty good margin, says a lot about your guys. I think it says a lot about the guys on the team."
Bethune-Cookman went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal--final five minutes of the first half to the first five minutes of the second half. By that point, Pitt built a 56-30 lead.
"There's not much you can take away (from the loss), but the effort part," Bethune-Cookman head coach Gravelle Craig--a native of Farrell, Pa., said. "That's the biggest thing--just trying to show your guys what it takes."