Pitt Vs. Princeton: With Win, Panthers Into Final Four Against Butler

Pitt’s win over Princeton on Monday night catapulted the Panthers into a Final Four matchup against Butler in the CBI Tournament. A Final Four in the CBI isn’t quite the same as an NCAA Tournament Final Four, but regardless, Pitt is in after they had a surprisingly easy time with the Tigers on Monday, winning 82-61.

The Panthers contained Princeton forward Ian Hummer to some degree, but he still ended up with a big game (14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks). The name of the game for Pitt, though, was again balance on offense.

As was the case against Wofford in the opening round of the tournament, the Panthers got contributions from a variety of sources. The team was led by Lamar Patterson’s 19 points, but Tray Woodall also chipped in with 15 points and 11 assists. Nasir Robinson added 12 points and ten rebounds and Ashton Gibbs and Talib Zanna also got into double figures in scoring.

Another positive is that several of Pitt’s younger players saw significant time. Talib Zanna played 20 minutes, J.J. Moore had 18, and Cam Wright had 12. John Johnson played only six minutes, but he saw a lot of time in the opener against Wofford.

One thing I would like to see is Jamie Dixon finding more time for freshman center Malcolm Gilbert. Gilbert played only two minutes against Princeton and has played a meager three minutes in all in the CBI tournament. Much is still up in the air, but if incoming freshman Steven Adams comes in next season to play center, Gilbert could be the primary backup at center if Dante Taylor and Talib Zanna are asked to play power forward. It’d be nice to give Gilbert a few more minutes at the end of this season if at all possible to give him some more game experience before he fills such a big role.

For more on Pitt basketball and the team’s next matchup against Butler, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.

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