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December 21, 2013

Patterson's 30 points leads Pitt

PITTSBURGH — Lamar Patterson scored a career-high 30 points to lead Pittsburgh to a 73-56 victory against Cal Poly Saturday.

Patterson made a career-best 11 field goals on 15 attempts, and became the first 30-point scorer for Pitt since Sam Young scored 32 against Oklahoma State on Mar. 22, 2009.

“It just felt good that it was all in the flow of the offense,” Patterson said. “It shows how unselfish the team is.”

Patterson scored nine points during a 14-2 first-half run that gave the Panthers (11-1) a 22-8 lead. The senior entered the game after a quick rest on the bench, and made a pair of 3-pointers then got three the old-fashioned way with a layup and foul as Talib Zanna found him cutting to the basket.

“I saw the first one go down and they gave me another look so I shot that one,” Patterson said. “Talib hit me on that cut and I did a good job just following through for these guys.”

Cal Poly (4-7) battled to cut Pitt’s lead to single-digits, but the Panthers responded each time behind Patterson. Head coach Joe Callero said Pitt’s mental and physical toughness eventually wore the Mustangs down.

“I think the physicality of the game caught up to us,” Callero said. “I think our legs went out a little bit. You could see Pitt getting stronger in that period: Shots, rhythm, feel of the game.”

Despite the physicality, the Panthers weren’t whistled for a single foul in the first half and finished with nine total. The Mustangs were called for 17 personals.

“I think I’ll probably not comment on that,” Callero said.

The Mustangs relied on the 3-point shot to stay close, starting 5 of 13 from beyond the arc, but finished 2 of 13 as Pitt built its lead to the final 17-point margin. Sophomore point guard James Robinson, who Dixon illuminates as Pitt’s best perimeter defender, noted the impact of adjustments made against screens.

“We wanted to trail them on the down-screens and we got caught up on screens,” Robinson said. “As the game went on, we started to get back to playing sound, fundamentally on the defensive end and we were able to contest their shots.”

From Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon’s perspective, Cal Poly took advantage of multiple defensive breakdowns.

“We just did a little better job,” Dixon said. “We did switch some more ball-screens for a stretch there. We’re just breaking down too often.”

Chris Eversley led the Mustangs with 16 points, while Kyle Odister scored 13 and David Nwaba added 10.

Durand Johnson was the only other Panther to hit double-figures with 12 points.

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