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Pitt Hoops 9-0 After Loyola Marymount Win

Updated: Saturday, December 7 2013, 12:20 AM EST

By NATE BARNES The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Heading into a matchup with Loyola Marymount, Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon wasn't happy with how his Panthers had played impatient basketball in their previous contest against Penn State.

After 20 minutes against Loyola Marymount Friday, Pitt had nine assists on 15 made baskets. When the final horn sounded, and Pitt registered an 85-68 win against the Lions, Dixon's team recorded 23 assists on 35 made baskets.

"I think the most evident thing we had was the passing," Dixon said. "That was from start to finish."

Because of the team's passing and unselfishness, the Panthers (9-0) shot 58.3 percent from the field and got the kinds of looks Dixon wanted.

"The main thing was to get layups and get to the basket," Dixon said.

James Robinson recorded six assists — bested only by back-up Josh Newkirk's career-high seven — and was a point away from scoring in double-digits. Like most games, Pitt didn't need its floor general to score as five Panthers scored 10 points or more.

"I think we're a really unselfish team," Robinson said. "Everybody is capable of kind of creating their own shot."

Cameron Wright scored a team-high 14 points, Durand Johnson and Talib Zanna posted 12 apiece, while Michael Young and Lamar Patterson each added 10.

"We look for each other," Robinson said. "I think that really showed tonight."

Wright's buckets came primarily on his drives to the basket that ended with him gliding to the hoop for layups, and a few mid-range jump shots when Robinson and others found him open after coming off screens.

"Coach likes me running the baseline," Wright said. "My big guys, they look for me, James is at the top of the key looking for me. My big guys, they do a good job at getting me a screen and getting me open."

Pitt nearly had two other players join their ranks, with Robinson scoring nine points and Jamel Artis chipping in eight off the bench. The scoring is just one advantage of Pitt's depth of which opposing coaches like Max Good must make their teams aware.

"This is the ACC or Big East or whatever you call it," Good said. "They should have it."

Pitt has it, and the Panthers flaunted it as they pulled away from the Lions in the latter portion of the first half. Loyola Marymount (6-3) trailed by only 19-17 at the game's second media timeout, but Pitt used a 21-12 run to take a 40-29 lead into the locker room.

The Panthers then outscored the Lions 12-4 to start the second half, and stretched their lead to as much as 22 points.

"Give that team credit," Wright said. "They played extremely hard tonight. I don't want to say anything was easy, they played extremely hard right now."

But the Lions opened the first 10 minutes with such intensity that Good knew his team would be unable to sustain the pace.

"When you play against a team like Pitt you feel like you're walking in a minefield," Good said. "You just kind of have to pick your poison."

By the Panthers' own admission, they had a hand in the way Loyola Marymount was able to begin the game.

"We let them get confidence and that was how they were able to stay in the game and make shots in the first half," Johnson said.

The same happened for a spell in the second half, as LMU cut Pitt's lead to 14 points with eight minutes to play. But two layups from Patterson quickly pushed the lead back to 18.

LMU out-rebounded Pitt 37-35. Gabe Levin pulled in a game-high 14 boards to go with his 14 points for the Lions, while Artis and Zanna each posted seven on Pitt's behalf.

Like patience was an objective for Pitt after the Penn State victory, Johnson spoke of rebounding as a focus of upcoming practices.

"Tonight we got out-rebounded," Johnson said. "Although it was a good team and them guys played hard, we're much better than what we showed. That's something we have to build on and keep getting done."

Copyright The Associated Press

Pitt Hoops 9-0 After Loyola Marymount Win


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