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Pitt won its first three games by an average of more than 30 points per game, including a 25-point victory against a Lehigh team that boasted a potential NBA draft choice.
Lehigh hung in there with Pitt in the first half Tuesday night. The Mountain Hawks held leads for several minutes in the first 20 minutes and appeared confident that they could pull an upset.
In the second half, the Panthers found their footing and came away with an easy 78-53 victory. The Panthers outscored Lehigh, 43-23, after halftime, shooting 53 percent in the process. Senior guard Tray Woodall said the Panthers wanted to play to their strengths inside.
“I think we came out with a lot of fire,” Woodall said. “We didn’t want to settle for jump shots. We wanted to run our sets and we got guys open layups. We wanted to feed our big guys. Once they started to back off us a little bit we knew our guards could attack a little more.”
The defensive performance after halftime was just as impressive. The Panthers held the Mountain Hawks to seven baskets in the final 20 minutes.
“We preach defense now,” Woodall said. “We’re all men of pride on defense now and that’s evident. The guys came in locked-in in the second half knowing what kind of defensive effort we needed, and those guys picked it up. We held them under 40 percent.”
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