Pitt followed a familiar script Saturday night in its victory against North Florida. The Panthers came out and appeared disinterested for stretches in the first half and found themselves in a tied game with little more than five minutes remaining in the first half. Then, as they had in most of their other recent contests, they turned it on and pulled away for a 89-47 victory at the Petersen Events Center.
Dante Taylor led the way with 16 points. Talib Zanna had 15, and Tray Woodall added 14.
Pitt (9-1) led 41-30 at halftime. The Panthers dominated the game early, jumping out to a 21-10 lead, but some lax defensive allowed North Florida to get back in the game. The Ospreys made three of their six first-half 3-pointers in a 17-6 run midway through the half and tied the score at 27-27 with 5:42 remaining before halftime.
The Panthers regained control in the final five minutes of the half. They outscored the Ospreys 14-3 over the final 5:21 for the 11-point lead at the intermission. Reserve guard Cameron Wright was instrumental in the surge, scoring six consecutive points in the run.
Lamar Patterson and Woodall each had eight points in the first half for the Panthers, who shot 56 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
North Florida shot 48 percent in the first half. The Ospreys were shooting so well that Pitt coach Jamie Dixon switched to a zone defense late in the half. That move helped the Panthers hold the Ospreys to one field goal in the final 5:40 before halftime.
The Panthers opened the second half strong and took a 59-38 lead after Patterson drilled a 3-pointer from the wing. The Ospreys' outside shooting, which kept them in the game in the first half, dried up after halftime, and they could not mount another comeback.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published December 9, 2012 2:00 AM