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Pitt 76, Kentucky Wesleyan 67; Quotes and notes

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Pitt defeated Kentucky Wesleyan, 76-67, in the final exhibition. Here is the game story.

Here are some notes and quotes from exhibition:

 

*** First off, Kentucky Wesleyan is one of the best NCAA Division II teams, so don’t be deceived by the score.

Pitt trailed by as many as seven in the first half. Kentucky Wesleyan, enrollment 741, put a scare into South Carolina in its first exhibition game and is ranked No. 15 in the NCAA Division II pre-season poll.

While most exhibitions are blow outs that do a team little good, Pitt learned some things in this scrimmage. For one, the perimeter defense for the big men on the pick and pop.

“We got something out of it,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “We played a very good team.”

 

*** Senior forward Nasir Robinson started after missing about four weeks following knee surgery. Robinson had six points and four rebounds in 10 minutes, all in the first half.

“It felt good. I’ve been working hard. My leg was feeling good. I’m not 100 percent yet. But I’m close to it and I should be there closely.”

*** Robinson left the game with a bloody nose and didn’t return because Pitt’s trainers had trouble stemming the flow. After the game, Dixon said Robinson suffered a similar bloody nose on Sunday during practice and sat out about an hour.

“He got the bloody nose. He hit it yesterday,” Dixon said. “He was out of practice. He’s never had this before. Then he got hit again and it wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t your typical bloody nose. Let’s put it that way. It kept going. “We were concerned that it might happen again because it was so strange yesterday. Not broken, but it was bloody for about an hour. The same thing happened today. I’ve never had that one before.””

*** Sophomore small forward Lamar Patterson was the best player on the floor, finishing with 22 points, along with five rebounds and three assists. He shot 9 for 13 from the field. The only negative was a missed breakaway dunk in the first half, but Patterson redeemed himself with a 3-point moments later. J.J. Moore started the exhibition — he’s started both — but Patterson has been the better of the two small forwards in the pre-season.  

“I want to show coach I can do whatever he wants me to do,” Patterson said.

Dixon said Patterson, who averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and seven assists and one turnover in two exhibition games, has been playing well in practice and that has carried over into the scrimmages.

“He’s been one of our best all-around guys,” Dixon said. “He’s been playing really well. He makes us better when he’s on the floor.”

Robinson on Patterson — “He looked more confident out there. He looks more comfortable.” 

*** Dixon took the blame after the game for having to put his starting five (minus Zanna for Robinson and Patterson for Moore) into the game with 20 seconds to play after Kentucky Wesleyan had trimmed the score to 74-67.

With 1:57 to play and Pitt leading 73-56, Dixon cleared the bench with four freshmen, Durand Johnson, Isaiah Epps (redshirt), John Johnson and Malcolm Gilbert. Forty seconds later, he subbed walk-on Nick Rivers for John Johnson. Kentucky Wesleyan went on an 11-1 run, prompting Dixon to bring back the regulars. He said he put his players in a bad position by putting so many inexperienced players on the floor at the same time.

“That was not what I wanted to do,” he said. “That was my fault. Putting all those younger guys in together was my fault. I take full responsibility for that.”

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