PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Pitt small forward Lamar Patterson gave the Panthers a spark off the bench Monday night as they won their final tune-up for the regular season against Kentucky Wesleyan, 76-67.
Patterson scored 22 points off the bench and helped Pitt rebound from a slow start in the first half.
Kentucky Wesleyan jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the opening four minutes of play. Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon used Patterson as one of his first subs and it immediately paid off, as he hit two 3-pointers and added a tip-in on a fast break to eventually help close the gap to 20-18 halfway through the opening frame.
Ashton Gibbs then eventually found open shots and was able to hit two 3-pointers and close the first half with eight straight points for a 42-33 halftime lead.
Pitt continued to expand its lead in the second half against Kentucky Wesleyan, which is ranked No. 15 in Division-II basketball and gave South Carolina a scare last week in exhibition play.
The Panthers built a 19-point lead with 8:49 remaining in the second half, allowing Dixon to empty his bench in the latter stages of the game.
Nasir Robinson, who had offseason knee surgery, returned to action for the first time Monday night. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 10 minutes of play. Robinson was forced to sit out part of the first half and the entire second half with a bloody nose.
Gibbs finished the game with 20 points and Tray Woodall led the team with 11 assists. Freshmen forwards Khem Birch and Malcolm Gilbert combined for six points, nine rebounds and three blocks.