The Pittsburgh Panthers dropped the opening game of the CBI finals to Washington State by a narrow one-point margin. It was a back-and-forth game, with Pitt jumping comfortably out in front in the first half and then falling behind by double digits midway through the second. There was little defense and both teams shot the lights out but the Cougars went on a 7-0 run at the nine-minute mark to really take momentum with a 12-point lead.
Pitt had a chance to tie it at 67 but Talib Zanna, who was fouled crashing the offensive glass, split the pair of free-throws. Pitt still had two more opportunities in the final four seconds to go ahead but a Tray Woodall desperation attempt and last-second Lamar Patterson heave were off the mark.
Pitt's defense at the three-point line was non-existent all evening, and in the second half, the Cougars started getting consistent penetration as well. Wazzu finished the game shooting 60 percent from behind the arc and better than 50 percent from the field.
Tray Woodall and J.J. Moore led Pitt with 16 points each. Woodall did most of his damage in the first half, when the Pitt offense was really in rhythm. The Panthers actually played a pretty efficient and clean game on the offensive end -- shooting it well and limiting turnovers. But they simply could not get any stops on the other end and the Cougars took the opening game.
Fortunately for Pitt, it's a best of three series with the final two games taking place at the Oakland Zoo. Game two is set for Wednesday evening.