Panthers crush Savannah State 88-55 in opener

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 08, 2013
Derrick Randall shined in his Pittsburgh debut, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds as the Panthers breezed by Savannah State 88-55 in the season opener on Friday. Randall, a transfer from Rutgers, was put in the starting lineup after center Talib Zanna was suspended for one game due to a violation of team rules. Randall wasted little time making an impression, setting career highs in points and rebounds as the Panthers rolled. James Robinson led Pitt with 13 points while adding five rebounds and two assists. Lamar Patterson set a career-high with seven assists to go with 11 points and seven rebounds for Pitt. Alante Fenner led the Tigers with 11 points but Savannah State was never in it. The Tigers shot 31 percent (20 of 64) and were outrebounded 47-28. The Panthers are still two months away from making their Atlantic Coast Conference debut, giving coach Jamie Dixon plenty of time to figure out which pieces go where. If Pitt is going to make a smooth transition from the Big East to its new digs, however, Robinson needs to be a bigger offensive threat after spending much of his freshman season deferring to senior Tray Woodall. Robinson spent a portion of the offseason working on improving a sometimes clunky jumper and becoming more aggressive with the ball in his hands. The early returns were promising. He scored Pitt's first points of the season on a pair of free throws following a nifty drive along the baseline. It was the kind of move he might have bypassed until much later in the game a year ago, when he often didn't look for his shot until after getting his teammates heavily involved. The freedom to shoot more is coupled by a pledge from coach Jamie Dixon to allow Robinson and the rest of the Panthers to push the tempo when the opportunity presents itself. Those moments came often against the overmatched Tigers, who lost four starters off a team that went 19-15 a year ago and finished third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Pitt wasted little time racing to a 19-2 lead. Randall took full advantage of the playing time left by Zanna's absence. He used his 6-foot-9, 240-pound frame to have his way inside, hitting a layup and a putback during the Panthers' early barrage that quickly ended any notion the visiting Tigers had of making things interesting. Savannah State, coached by former Georgetown point guard Horace Broadnax, gave away size at nearly every position and struggled to get off clean looks. The result was a mismatch. The Tigers shot just 4 of 23 (17 percent) during an ugly first half that allowed the Panthers to open a 40-13 lead. The 13 points allowed by Pitt were the third-fewest by the Panthers in a half in the last 63 years, though things loosened up a bit in the second half as Dixon went deep into his bench to give his newcomers extended playing time.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Klay Thompson fails miserably attempting a 360 dunk

Jays closer Roberto Osuna says he’s dealing with anxiety

John McEnroe claims Andy Warhol ruined his sex life

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel is Mavericks' top priority

Bill O'Brien: Deshaun Watson well prepared to run an offense

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dolphins reached out to Peyton Manning about possible comeback

The Baltimore Orioles tied an MLB record they can’t be proud of

Report: Knicks afraid of Porzingis rebelling, hurting their image

Report: Blake Griffin opts out of contract to become free agent

Report: Wolves targeting Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, other point guards in free agency

Conor McGregor’s coach says tentative plans include a return to UFC in 2017

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker