Really, the Panthers are not trying to embarrass opponents. It only appears that way.
Pitt’s past two wins have come by 42 and 49 points. The 89-40 victory over Bethune-Cookman Saturday night was the largest margin of victory in the history of the Petersen Events Center and tied for the sixth-largest margin in school history. Five of Pitt’s 10 wins have been by 30 points or more.
Some have wondered why coach Jamie Dixon isn’t calling off the dogs late in these non-competitive games. The answer lies in the makeup of his roster.
Dixon has two walk-ons this season, but neither can participate in game. Mike Lecak transferred from Wheeling Jesuit and is not eligible under NCAA transfer rules. He must sit out one year before becoming eligible. Also, Aron Nwanko is redshirting with an eye on playing next season.
In addition to the walk-ons, a couple of other scholarship players are being held out. Sophomore center Malcolm Gilbert and freshman Chris Jones are redshirting in an effort to preserve a season of eligibility. Gilbert is a center and behind Steven Adams and Dante Taylor on the depth chart. Jones is a freshman guard and Dixon has plenty of guards at his disposal this season.
When Dixon has walk-ons at his disposal, he empties the bench at the end of blowouts. I cannot remember one instance where an opposing coach became upset for what he perceived as Dixon ever running up the score.
The problem for Dixon is that all 10 players available to him are talented and a regular part of his rotation. So when they are playing late in games they are almost as efficient as the starters.
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