PITTSBURGH — Pitt knew it would rely on its freshman for much of its offense this year as the guard trio of Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney.
With senior guard Sidy N’Dir expected to miss four to six weeks with a right leg injury, the load on the freshmen is only expected to increase.
Thursday against New Orleans, they essentially won the game for themselves. All three players broke the 20-point barrier. McGowens (24) and Toney (20) each set career highs as Pitt rolled, 99-57 over New Orleans.
Not only were they prodigious on offense, the Pitt backcourt forced 22 turnovers, scored 32 points off turnovers and held the Privateers to 17.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Panthers backcourt was boosted by 15 strong minutes from sophomore Khameron Davis, who scored seven points and assumed N’Dir’s bench role, while McGowens and Malik Ellison served as Johnson’s backups at point guard.
Ellison came off the bench for the first time this season. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Jared Wilson-Frame. Each player had seen roughly equal playing time when Ellison started, but Wilson-Frame saw a 31-16 minutes advantage. He scored seven points and had six rebounds. Ellison had nine points, four rebounds and four assists.
Pitt will have eight days off before hosting Colgate on Dec. 29 in the final non-conference game of the season.