PITTSBURGH — Through the first four games of the 2018-19 season, Pitt has continued to show a varied offense that can score a number of different ways.
Thursday in a 97-71 drubbing of Central Arkansas, the Panthers scored a ton — Jared Wilson-Frame had 20 points off the bench as one of five Pitt players to cross into double figures — but they primarily got things done at the free throw line.
Pitt earned 35 free throws, draining 26 of them. The Panthers had come into the game hitting 73.7 of their free-throws on the season, tied for No. 96 in the country, and their 74.3 percent night will only slightly raise that, but the total was more important than the percentage, with Pitt seemingly driving to the rim at will to collect a foul against the bigger, but slower Bears.
Au’Diese Toney got to the line seven times and hit six as part of his career-high 15 points.
Pitt played without the services of stating point guard Xavier Johnson for most of the first half after an early technical gave him a quick pair of fouls. He came back in the second half to score 11 points in a total of 17 minutes. Sidy N’Dir (nine points) and Malik Ellison (13 points) held down the point in Johnson’s absence.
Pitt allowed it’s greatest opponent shooting percentage of the season, with the Bears hitting 49.2 percent of their shots, but the Panthers grabbed 23 turnovers and scored 31 points off turnovers.
The Panthers will have a quick turnaround between games, as they will host North Alabama on Saturday at noon.