One-win Pitt tries to maintain momentum vs. Towson

NCAA Basketball

Pitt will look to get it in gear before the meaty part of its schedule kicks in.

The Panthers will have another chance to try to show progress when they take on visiting Towson on Friday night.

“It feels good to be in the win column,” guard Femi Odukale said. “But we know we have to move forward and to keep on winning, not just worry about one win. We’re trying to build on wins.”

It has been a rough opening for the Panthers (1-2). They finally notched a victory by defeating UNC Wilmington 59-51 on Tuesday night.

“Our team is interesting; right now we’re going to have to win ugly,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said.

The Panthers might be rounding into better shape from a roster standpoint. They moved Dan Oladapo, a transfer from Oakland, into the starting lineup for the first time for the UNCW game. He responded with nine points and five rebounds.

“It was great having Dan out there,” forward John Hugley said. “He knows the game pretty well. He teaches me stuff on defense. He’s very alert and aware.”

Plus, Jamarius Burton, formerly of Wichita State and Texas Tech, made his Pittsburgh debut Tuesday night after missing the first two games with a knee injury.

“He gave us a calming influence,” Capel said. “Obviously provides leadership. He’s a guy that talks, so it was good to have that. We knew he would be a little bit rusty, which he was.”

Towson (2-1) has had good combinations, with five players reaching double figures when the Tigers topped visiting Hampton 78-54 on Tuesday night.

But the biggest thing going for Towson might be defense. Hampton shot 32.1 percent from the field.

“We have always prided ourselves on defense and rebounding,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said.

Yet the offense has been spotty. Across three games, the Tigers are hitting 39.6 percent of their shots, and they’re averaging 12 turnovers per game.

“We need to be crisper on offense,” Skerry said.

On the upside, the Tigers have connected on 83 percent of their free throws in the past two games.

The game against Towson will Pitt back-to-back opponents from the Colonial Athletic Association.

This game marks one of two games against power-conference opponents for Towson. The other will come next month at Ohio State.

–Field Level Media

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