Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Exhibition Provided Dixon with Teaching Tool

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Exhibition Provided Dixon with Teaching Tool

Article excerpt

Pitt played its first exhibition game of the season last Friday against UC San Diego, and while the Panthers won by 13 points, the Tritons trailed by just two points with four minutes to play.

Coach Jamie Dixon said that there were some things the Panthers would have done differently in terms of a game plan if it had been a regular-season game, but he also said the players needed to play better than they did.

That's why tonight, when the Panthers play their second exhibition game against Slippery Rock at Petersen Events Center, he expects them to put forth a much better performance, especially the three returning starters -- James Robinson, Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna -- and starting shooting guard Cameron Wright.

"I didn't think any of those four played their best games and all know they need to play much better for us to be successful," Dixon said. "Those are four good, smart, versatile players, and we expect a lot more out of them than what we got the other night, but they know it.

"I think the other thing is, they all four did a lot of good things, too. And we saw some things in that first game from UC San Diego that we really didn't work on or prepare for because it was just an exhibition."

Dixon said he is treating the game tonight against Slippery Rock as more of a regular-season game and has prepared for it, watched film and game-planned for the Rockets since the season begins next week.

One major change he is likely to make tonight is to the starting lineup.

Derrick Randall has returned from injury and will assume the role of Zanna's backup at center, which means Michael Young will move back to his power forward spot and likely be the starter with Durand Johnson coming off the bench.

If those changes occur, the starting lineup will be Robinson, Wright, Patterson, Young and Zanna, which Dixon said is a better lineup than the one the Panthers started last week.

"With Derrick being out, we tried to play a smaller lineup and use Michael at the five spot," Dixon said. "It was a lineup that we had used some in practice, and we saw it as an opportunity to play with it, but I haven't felt it was our best lineup. …

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