PITTSBURGH — On Monday night, Pitt kicked off the 2021-22 season with a victory over Gannon University in an exhibition, by a score of 89-64.
The Panthers did not trail for any of this one, taking an early lead and running with it behind the likes of Mo Gueye, Femi Odukale, and Ithiel Horton. In addition to those three, Jeff Capel rounded out the starting lineup with John Hugley, and lastly, Nike Sibande, who left the game in the first half with an apparent ankle injury and did not return.
After a sloppy first half by both teams, Pitt turned things around in the second half behind newcomer Mo Gueye, who looked spectacular in his Panthers exhibition debut. Gueye did it all, scoring 17, knocking down two threes, crossing over opponents, blocking shots, hitting and-ones in traffic, and more. Along with his 17 points, he finished with 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The game’s leading scorer with 20 points, Odukale did just about everything that Pitt could have asked of him. The crafty point guard navigated his way through the lane, threw down electrifying dunks, and also added three assists and seven rebounds. He shot 60% from the field and most notably 7 for 9 from the free throw line, where he struggled last year. Horton scored the ball well from the wing, dropping in floaters and sinking two threes en route to a 16-point performance.
William Jeffress started out slow but found a rhythm offensively in the second half. He contributed with put-back lay-ups, and-ones, and also hit a three in his 8-point, 5-rebound performance.
Sophomore big man John Hugley had an up-and-down game, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds, but also turning the ball over four times in the first half. He got open down low often and drew plenty of fouls, but the issue was just finishing the job at the line and taking care of the ball, especially in the first half.
Gannon was led by Ike Herster and Chris Clancy, who scored 11 and 8 points, respectively. The Golden Knights struggled to get good shots up tonight, shooting just 15% from 3-point range.
The Panthers will officially open their season on Nov. 9, when they host The Citadel at 7 p.m.