Pitt dropped their first game of the season against Michigan earlier this week, but rebounded nicely against Delaware, winning the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off, 85-59 on Friday at Madison Square Garden.
There are lots of reasons why the Panthers won so easily, but the two biggest factors were probably their combination of hot shooting (making nearly 60% of their shots) and taking good care of the ball (the Panthers had only six turnovers on the day).
Both Steven Adams and Tray Woodall bounced back from subpar games against Michigan. Both players had 13 points and while Adams added three rebounds and three blocks, Woodall dished out a team-high seven assists. But it was the Panthers' starting forwards that truly led the way. Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson each had ten rebounds and the duo combined for 34 points.
Pitt's bench also played well, scoring 25 points on 9-16 shooting, led by J.J. Moore's 10. Moore also collected a couple of rebounds and a steal in only 12 minutes of action.
The lone negative may have been that another guard beat up on the Panthers as Devon Saddler went off for 28 points. It marked the second straight game Pitt's players have struggled against opposing guards and the team needs to tighten things up in the backcourt defensively. Michigan's Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. didn't shoot particularly well, but they routinely made it to the basket with ease and had 33 points to go along with only two turnovers.
Still, though, Pitt will be happy to trade victories in exchange for big individual performances by opposing players.