The Panthers got off to a good start, winning their season opener against Albany, 89-56. Pitt jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Senior Ashton Gibbs had 21 points, which was to be expected. What Pitt probably wasn’t counting on, though, was the 25 points and ten assists from junior point guard Tray Woodall. Woodall looked sharp all game and while it’s only one game, he looked comfortable in his role as the full-time point guard. Not only did he distribute ball well, but he shot accurately, hitting 9-13 shots including 5-7 from three-point range.
One of the big questions coming into the season was to find out if Pitt would have a reliable second scorer behind Gibbs. It’s far too early to declare Woodall as that, but he’s certainly off to a good start.
Pitt freshman Khem Birch had a lackluster game in his debut, recording only two points on a pair of free throws and three rebounds in 17 minutes. Another freshman didn’t wait before making an impression, though. John Johnson tallied eight points and a steal in only 13 minutes of action. He was active all night and could be another candidate to get minutes throughout the season.
Another player who had a good night was Lamar Patterson, starting in place of the suspended J.J. Moore. Patterson played the Brad Wanamaker role, having an all-around good game with six points, six assists, seven rebounds, and a steal.
Next up for Pitt is a game against Rider on Sunday night at the Pete.