PITTSBURGH — Pitt used an incredible offensive performance to take down Bryant, 93-55, in the 12th annual School Day game at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday.
The Panthers’ (3-0) 93 points are the most under Lance White in his five years as head coach. It is also the most points the Panthers scored in a game since they last scored 93 points against Delaware State in 2014. The Panthers shot 60.7% from the field and 52.2% from 3-point range en route to the blowout victory.
Panthers head coach Lance White thanked the Pitt marketing team for bringing all the schools across the Pittsburgh region to the game. Attendance numbers for the game showed 3,154 people attend, most of them students, who White said energized his team’s performance.
He also praised the Panthers’ defensive efforts, which figured out the Bulldogs game plan and bolstered their offensive play.
“Whenever you make shots, it makes me look like a lot better coach,” White said. “The ball goes through the net and everything becomes a little bit easier. I was really proud of our 26 assists and our kids really wanting to create open shots for their teammates. That’s been a huge emphasis from the offseason, through the summer and then the fall of just, “How do we make better shots for each other?” I thought we did that today.”
Pitt struggled at times to get going offensively in the first quarter, shooting 45% from the floor, but still managed to build a 22-12 lead.
They improved in the second quarter, as the Panthers made nine of their 14 shots from the field, 64.3%. This allowed them to take a 47-29 lead at halftime.
The Panthers’ best quarter offensively occurred in the third quarter. They converted eight of their 11 attempts from the field and six of their eight 3-point attempts.
They also shot 11-16, 68.8% from the floor and didn’t allow the Bulldogs to score the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
Sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson played the best game of her career to date, with a team-high and career-high 20 points. Before this game, she only scored a high of seven points, twice in her two seasons with the team. She made seven of her nine shots in the game, including four of her six 3-point attempts.
White applauded Johnson for her performance, but also the change in her game since arriving last year. He noted that she played in the post in high school, but functions more now as a guard, and that she accepted that challenge.
“My coaches really being on me, telling me to just go be aggressive and relentless with everything that I do,” Johnson said about her development offensively. “After practice, just getting up shots. Extra shots before and after practice. Just mainly something that I do to help me build my confidence. Also my coaches and my teammates pushing me every day just to go be aggressive.”
Junior forward Liatu King scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds for a double-double against Bryant. King enjoyed playing in the environment that the annual School Day brought, the first time since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She and Johnson spent time signing autographs to students who lined up after the game.
“The environment was lovely,” King said. “They showed a lot of love. They acted as if I was a celebrity. I felt like a celebrity today. It’s just a nice feeling just to know that there are people that look up to us. It was nice and I do hope they come back again.”
Pitt takes on rival Duquesne in the City Game this Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. as they look to stay perfect in the win column.