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Pitt routs La Roche; post-game notes and quotes

Pitt routed La Roche, 101-33, in its exhibition game at Petersen Events Center. Here is the early game-story.

Here are some post-game notes:

*** Senior forward Nasir Robinson (knee) is ahead of schedule and could return to full practice next week. He took place in warmups last week.  

“We think it’s coming along,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “I think we will have a pretty good understanding of where we are at Monday. It’s gone well. The knee feels good. I think he feels pretty good. I think we are on schedule or ahead of schedule.”

 *** Freshman forward/center Khem Birch had a game-high 16 points, including three dunks, and five rebounds.

“He’s got a nice touch,” Dixon said. “He’s got good hands. He’s in the right spot. He got to play a lot of minutes.”

*** Dixon praised Pitt’s assist-to-turnover (27 to 6), and said he expects to use two point guard-type players on the floor at all times.  

 “We’re really going to have almost two point guards on the floor the entire game,” Dixon said. “That’s going to be how we’re going to play. That’s the situation that we’re in.”

 *** J.J. Moore started at small forward, and Lamar Patterson came off the bench, but Dixon said his rotation isn’t set yet.

“We’re just still figuring it out,” Dixon said. “I’ve had so many different rotations out there, as you might expect at this time. I thought J.J. played really well. I thought Lamar played really well. He got us going there early.”

*** La Roche coach Harry Jenkins, who coached at Fox Chapel for 25 years and certainly knows his basketball, was, as expected, impressed with Pitt, especially the transition game. 

“Today they showed that they have maybe another level in their game this year, and that’s pretty impressive,” he said. “I think they can put a very talented, deep, tall team on the floor and that will make quite a difference against a lot of the teams they play this year.”

*** Malcolm Gilbert had three blocks in a five-minute span in the first half.

“I think it got the momentum moving a little bit, discouraged the offense and helped the team in transition,” he said.

*** Khem Birch said he would prefer to stay at power forward when Nasir Robinson returns, but realizes he will likely move to center to back up Dante Taylor.

“I find it’s harder to play five (center than power forward), because it’s more physical. Just the way the play is, I find it harder than the four. It’s mostly positioning.”

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