Pitt easily defeated St. John’s in their opener 73-59 and did so behind the play of their seniors, Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson.
Gibbs, who has been inconsistent all season, stepped up big time in scoring 20 points. He made only five of his 14 shots, but made all six of his free throws and didn’t turn the ball over once. Robinson chipped in with 15 and also led the Panthers in rebounding with eight boards. He, too, limited his turnovers and had only one on the afternoon.
St. John’s held the rebounding edge, 38-35, but couldn’t get anything going offensively. The Red Storm limited their turnovers fairly well, but couldn’t hit many shots all afternoon.
The team also had good production from bench players John Johnson and J.J. Moore. The duo combined for 16 points and five rebounds. But one area they need more production is from point guard Tray Woodall. Woodall’s been struggling a bit and had a whopping six turnovers today. He also shot only 1-5 from the field and other than his six assists, contributed little. If Pitt has any thoughts of shocking the world and winning the tournament, Woodall needs to do more.
Without a bye, Pitt’s one win is a long way from winning the Big East Tournament. But if the Panthers are going to find a way to make a run, they’ll need both of their seniors to make big time contributions. Gibbs and Robinson did that today and will try to do so again in the contest against Georgetown tomorrow afternoon.
For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill.