Pitt defeated Fordham, 86-51, tonight in the first round of the preseason N.I.T. at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers will play the winner of the Robert Morris-Lehigh game Tuesday night. That game is set to tip off at 8:30 p.m.
Reserve forward J.J. Moore led the Panthers (2-0) with 20 points. Freshman center Steven Adams added 13 senior guard Tray Woodall 12.
Fordham kept it close early on by hitting three of its four first-half 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game. The Panthers led 12-11 after Brian Smith made a 3-pointer for the Rams.
J.J. Moore came off the bench to spark the Panthers after that with 12 points in the final 13:18. When he made a 3-pointer near the end of the shot clock Pitt led, 21-15, with 8:01 to go in the half.
A few minutes later, Moore stretched the lead to 37-18 when he nailed another 3-pointer. Then with 27 seconds remaining before halftime, Moore made two free throws after being fouled attempting a baseline jumper.
Pitt outscored Fordham, 19-3, over the final 9:50 of the half and held the Rams to one field goal in the final 11:35.
The Panthers maintained their momentum after halftime and opened up a 20-point lead when Durand Johnson dunked for his first college basket with 14:18 remaining. Fordham never threatened after that.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published November 13, 2012 1:00 AM