Pitt Basketball: Oakland Zoo Blue-Gold Scrimmage
Jones Shines in First Pitt Scrimmage
Red-shirt sophomore Chris Jones tallied 16 points (6-12 FG, 4-6 3PT) for team gold, in Friday night’s “Blue vs. Gold” Oakland Zoo Scrimmage. The contest, which was won by the Blue squad 57-53, featured four double-digit scorers, including Joseph Uchebo who added 11 points and 14 rebounds for the victorious blue squad.
And while his side may have lost, Jones was clearly the most impressive player on the floor Friday evening. Jones, who played last season with a thumb injury, seems to be close to returning to 100 percent.
“It feels great to have the thumb finally healed” Jones said. “After I got the cast off, I had to spend a lot of time in the gym just getting my shot up so I could get the feeling back. It’s coming along and feeling better, but it’s still not where I want it to be.”
James Robinson led all scorers with 18 points (5-12 FG, 7-9 FT), and hit six out of his final eight free throws to propel his Blue side to victory.
Josh Newkirk looked extremely impressive on Friday, as the sophomore dished out nine assists without turning the ball over in a (Gold) team high 30 minutes of play. Newkirk also added seven points and two steals to his stat line from Friday evening.
The game featured the un-official collegiate debuts of freshman recruits Cameron Johnson and Ryan Luther, while also featuring the Panther debuts of transfers Tyrone Haughton and Sheldon Jeter.
Jeter, a Beaver Falls product, had nine points (4-11 FG, 1-3 3PT) and six rebounds. His Blue teammate and fellow Western Pennsylvania native, Ryan Luther, also added nine points (2-7 FG, 5-5 FT), while grabbing another four rebounds.
Jamel Artis added 14 points and four rebounds for the losing Gold side.
Pitt will have one more intra-squad scrimmage on October 19th as part of “Fan Fest” and the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair.
Pitt’s first of two exhibition games is Halloween night (Oct. 31st) against Indiana University of Pennsylvania at 7:00 pm.
The Panthers open the regular season on Friday November 14th against Niagara at the Peterson Events Center. Tipoff is also slated for 7:00 pm for that start.
“I think we competed pretty well tonight,” Robinson said. “It’s the first official day of practice, so we’ve got a lot of stuff that we can take away from this, but we’ve got a lot of learning to do, and a lot of getting better to do.”
News and Notes:
• Pitt Center Joseph Uchebo grabbed 14 of his blue squad’s 31 rebounds, and looked extremely effective in 26 minutes of action. Uchebo continues to try and battle his way back from gruesome knee injury he suffered. Dixon noted that Uchebo has “a knack for rebounding, and passing out of the post” while being a legitimate low post defender. Look for Uchebo to continue to play big minutes in the preseason, as he looks to make an impact this season.
• With Cameron Wright due to miss around 10 weeks of action, redshirt sophomore Chris Jones should see more minutes in Wright’s absence. Jones, as is mentioned above, looked really good shooting the ball from deep and seems to be an improved perimeter defender.
• Sophomore Mike Young struggled on Friday evening, as he had just six points on 2-7 shooting from the floor. Young did grab four rebounds and contribute two assists for the gold team.
• Derrick Randall had quite the battle with the aforementioned Uchebo. Randall scored eight points, and grabbed 11 rebounds (five offensive). The senior from Brooklyn should see sometime at the center spot during the season.
• Josh Newkirk looked fantastic on Friday evening, as he ran the point guard spot for the gold side. Newkirk contributed nine assists and did not turn the ball over once. Newkirk guarded junior James Robinson, and contributed two steals for the gold unit.
• Jamel Artis has lost a good deal of weight in the off-season, and it shows. The sophomore looked quick on Friday, contributing 14 points including a beautiful fast break dunk on a feed from Josh Newkirk. Artis should bring a lot of versatility to Jamie Dixon’s Panthers squad this season.
• Former Pitt player and long-time assistant Brandin Knight coached the Gold contingent, while new Pitt assistant Marlon Williamson handled the duties for the Blue team.
Written by: Andrew Stern