Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
PITTSBURGH — All summer, his fellow coaches asked Pitt’s Jamie Dixon why he agreed to play an opponent like Rhode Island in the season opener. For most of Monday night’s game, Dixon was asking himself the same question.
Brad Wanamaker scored 24 points, Ashton Gibbs had 22 and No. 5 Pittsburgh survived an upset scare in the nation’s first Division I game of the season, rallying from eight points down to beat the Rams 83-75.
Pitt ended a sluggish first half in the 2K Sports Classic opener by scoring nine consecutive points over the final 1:21 after Rhode Island went ahead 36-28. The Panthers then wore down Rhode Island with their size, defense and the experienced play of the backcourt of Gibbs and Wanamaker to offset the Rams’ 14 3-pointers.
Norvel Pelle, the No. 2 center in the Class of 2011 from Los Angeles Price High School, says he “loved” his official visit to St. John’s and will decide between the Johnnies and Washington after visiting UW next weekend.
“I have Washington next weekend,” Pelle said by phone Sunday night. “I’m just going with an open mind.”
Asked if those were the only two schools he was focusing on at this point, Pelle said, “Yes.”
Asked if he planned to sign in November, he said, “Yes.”