After an up-and-down first half, Pitt was able to clamp down and come up with a dominant second half. It all resulted with a 78-53 win over Lehigh on Tuesday night
Individually speaking, it was a 20-20 performance for Pitt as Talib Zanna finished with 21 points for the Panthers and Travon Woodall added 23.
"Good win against a good team; I liked how we did it, seventeen assists, seven turnovers and outrebounded," head coach Jamie Dixon said. "We guarded well. We wanted to hold them below 40 percent, and we did that."
Pitt led by as many as seven in the first half, before Lehigh rebounded with a 9-1run to go up 14-13, approaching the halfway point of the first half.
The only offense Pitt could generate came at the hands of Zanna, who converted 3-4 free throws, a pair of long range jumpers, and a putback. Woodall was being defended very well by Lehigh's C.J. McCollum. Woodall scored 7 of his 9 first half points in the final 6:18 of the half. It all started with a straight up drive to the hoop, aided by a screen set up by Zanna. Before that, though, players felt the increased defensive effort provided the spark.
"The guys really locked in with the defensive effort we needed," Woodall added. "Guys picked it up."
Freshman Steven Adams finished off a feed from Woodall for an easy layup, at the buzzer. Pitt led 35-30 despite just shooting 42 percent in the first half, as well as a 1-6 performance from three-point range.
Pitt was getting its looks in the first half, just not converting them. Once Woodall got going with that first drive, things picked up for the Panthers offensively.
When the second half started, Zanna and Woodall continued. Zanna scored Pitt's first seven points of the half--including a three-pointer. Pitt took its largest lead of the game, at 44-35, thanks to a basket from Woodall.
When Woodall added a three-pointer at the 15:35 mark of the second half, Pitt went up 49-35; a 19-5 run to start the second half.
Woodall added another a minute and a half later to put Pitt up 52-37. On the next possession, he fed Zanna inside for an easy layup. Pitt led 54-37 with 13:49 left.
The Panthers also got a nice lift from redshirt freshman Durand Johnson, who came off the bench with nine points. Johnson started the second half, filling in for starter Lamar Patterson, who picked up three fouls in the first half. Johnson played the first 12 minutes of the second half, finishing with a total of 17 minutes.
"Durand played very well," Dixon said. "The biggest thing is letting things come to him offensively. Two assists, no turnovers. He didn't force things. That's the thing we've tried to instill in him. He just needs to play off that, and he did. Then, he came up with the seven rebounds."
After the sub-par shooting performance in the second half, Pitt shot 53 percent in the second half.
Lehigh's McCollum led his team with 17 points. Though he picked up a couple baskets in the second half, he credited Pitt's help defense with keeping him in check.
"I thought they did a pretty good job limiting my touches," McCollum said. "I got up 11 shots, but great job on the help defense."