Pitt picked up its fifth consecutive victory with a 89-47 win over North Florida on Saturday night at the Petersen Events Center.
Dante Taylor--scoring most of his points late in the game--led the Panthers with 16 points. Five Pitt players finished in double-figures. His career-high was 17. Talib Zanna finished with 15, along with Travon Woodall with 14, Lamar Patterson with 13 and Cameron Wright with 10.
Steven Adams led Pitt with seven rebounds, spearheading a 35-21 edge in rebounding.
"I thought we were much better (in the second half)," head coach Jamie Dixon said afterwards. "In the second half, I think we wore them down, but there is work to be done."
Pitt got out to a fast start with a 13-5 lead thanks to three rebounds from Adams, and a total of six fast break points in the game's opening minutes.
Based on the up-tempo start, it looked like the Ospreys--despite not getting back on defense much at all---weren't ready to give in yet. A 7-2 run late in the second half, combined with a 6-13 three-point shooting performance in the first half made it a 27-27 game with 5:35 left in the first half.
Dixon was forced the call timeout and get his team to regroup. While Pitt was generally shooting well--55.6 percent (15-27) in the first half, the Panthers were getting outrebounded (14-12). Ten assists on 15 field goals in the half, along with just one turnover, led to a 16-5 run to close the half.
"There was a lot of talk in the locker room at halftime," Wright added. "We had to rebound better. We picked it up."
Within that 16-5 run, Wright scored three consecutive field goals--including a steal and score--to break that 27-27 tie.
Identical to the start of the game, Pitt opened the second half with a 13-5 run. Matthew Driscoll was forced to call timeout, his team down 54-35 not even a full four minutes into the second half. Over a nine-minute span, Pitt used a 27-8 run, after the game was tied at 27-27.
Afterwards, Driscoll ranked Pitt among the rest of his schedule, in terms of best teams he's faced this year.
"I would say Pitt would be number one, Minnesota would be number two, Kansas State number three, and probably Florida State number four," Driscoll said.
Pitt also had one of its most consistent shooting performances. After shooting 56 percent in the first half, Pitt converted 18-29 shots in the second half, shooting 62 percent They shot 58.9 percent for the game.
"The day before yesterday, we got a lot of shots up in practice," Wright said. "It what kind of a light day. It showed, as we were able to knock down shots."
In addition to that, Pitt assisted 21 times on 33 field goals, converted 21 of 25 free throws and had a 23-7 edge in rebounding in the second half.
Remarkably, North Florida also did not get any trips to the free throw line in the entire game. The previous lowest number of free throw attempts in a game for a Pitt opponent in the Jamie Dixon era was November of 2003 against Albany. Therefore, the no free throw attempts or makes is a new school record.
"I didn't even know that was possible," Taylor said.