Albany vs Pittsburgh

No. 10 Pittsburgh 89, Albany (NY) 56 wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh guard Travon Woodall would prefer to go by "Tray" this year.

If he keeps shooting the way he did in the 10th-ranked Panthers' 89-56 win over Albany on Friday, "Trey" might be more appropriate.

Woodall scored 25 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting, taking some of the heat off star teammate Ashton Gibbs as Pitt remained unbeaten in nine season openers under coach Jamie Dixon.

"I felt good, I'm working on something, working on my shot," Woodall said. "I know a lot of guys will be keying on Ashton."

The Great Danes included.

Albany spent all week trying to find ways to slow down Gibbs, the preseason Big East Player of the Year. He still scored 21 points, though it was the superb play of his backcourt mate that turned heads.

"Halfway through that game I thought Gibbs was wearing [Woodall's number] the way Woodall shot the ball," Albany coach Will Brown said.

Woodall's previous career-high was 19 points against Wichita State two years ago as a freshman. He's spent much of the last two seasons trying to get the ball to his more heralded teammates.

Yet the Panthers are rebuilding a bit in the frontcourt, meaning they will have to rely on Woodall and Gibbs if they want to repeat as Big East regular-season champions.

The duo appears up to the task, looking for each other regularly on a night when Pitt's 15th straight season opening win was never in doubt.

The Panthers needed all of five minutes to open a 10-point lead, the advantage quickly ballooning to 24 before Albany could catch its breath.

"We thought if we could do a decent job on Gibbs we'd be OK because I thought Pitt would need time to find a second scorer," Brown said. "I thought it might be [Lamar] Patterson. It might be Woodall."

Even if Woodall arrived at the Petersen Events Center a little later than usual. He put the blame on teammate and roommate Dante Taylor.

Maybe Woodall should make showing up a little late a habit. He wasted no time getting going against Albany. His first 3-pointer of the game put Pitt up 20-8 and he just kept going.

When Woodall and Gibbs weren't shooting, they were setting each other up. Woodall finished with 10 assists while Gibbs had a career-high seven, consistently finding open teammates whenever the Great Danes threw two or sometimes three defenders in his path.

"I was trying to create for myself, create for others as well," Gibbs said. "At the end of the day I was penetrating and I passed the ball. It was nothing out of the ordinary and my teammates knocked down shots."

Gerardo Suero led Albany with 17 points and Logan Aronhalt added 13 points and five rebounds but the Great Danes were never in it even though Pitt played without sophomore forward J.J. Moore, who suspended for one game for playing in an unsupervised summer league game.

For one game, the Panthers didn't need him.

"We came out on offense I thought very good for a first game," Dixon said.

Forward Nasir Robinson showed no ill effects from a knee injury that limited him during the preseason, finishing with eight points and three rebounds in 23 effective minutes.

Freshman forward Khem Birch, just the sixth McDonald's All-America to play at Pitt, had a so-so debut, missing his one shot from the field but making two free throws to go with three rebounds in 17 minutes.

The Great Danes were coming off a breakthrough season under Brown. Albany went 16-16, a nine-win improvement off the season before. The Great Danes return four starters and are picked to finish fourth in the American East.

Yet they have been hit with injuries during preseason and it showed. Forward Luke Devlin didn't play for four months after undergoing back surgery and had just two points and two rebounds in 26 minutes. Center John Puk had an infection in his shin earlier in the week and went scoreless in 13 minutes.

"Those two guys are key to what we need to do," Brown said. "We got rattled early because I thought our perimeter guys would be fine. But it's the opener and they don't lose in this building."

Pitt has won 15 straight season openers dating to 1997 and remained unbeaten at the Petersen Events Center against nonconference opponents in November and December.

"We ran into a good team, a physical team," Brown said. "If they shoot that well we don't have a right being in the game with them."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Albany (0-1)263056
Pittsburgh #10 (1-0) «474289
ALBANY:G. Suero 17 Pts
ALBANY:G. Suero 6 Reb
ALBANY:M. Black 3 Ast
PITT:T. Woodall 25 Pts
PITT:D. Taylor 8 Reb
PITT:T. Woodall 10 Ast

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Gerardo Suero
Travon Woodall
Albany Great Danes
L. Aronhalt, G355-112-250313
G. Suero, G334-99-1661217
M. Black, G304-72-203211
L. Devlin, F261-30-02012
J. Puk, C130-20-01000
J. Guerrier, G-F211-40-02013
S. Rowley, F122-32-32116
R. Watts, G-F102-20-00004
P. Hooley, G90-20-01000
B. Metcalf, C80-00-02210
J. Iati, G30-10-00000
T. Gibson, GDid Not Play
C. Page, GDid Not Play
Totals 19-4415-232171156
Pittsburgh Panthers
A. Gibbs, G308-172-207021
T. Woodall, G289-132-2610125
L. Patterson, G-F262-50-07626
D. Taylor, F243-71-28027
N. Robinson, F234-80-02038
K. Birch, F170-12-23022
C. Wright, G151-10-01012
T. Zanna, F142-21-23035
J. Johnson, G133-50-00018
I. Epps, G61-20-01122
N. Rivers, G21-20-01003
A. Nwankwo, F20-00-00000
J. Moore, FDid Not Play
M. Gilbert, CDid Not Play
D. Johnson, G-FDid Not Play
Totals 34-638-1032241789
America East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Stony Brook12-418-14177
New Hamp.10-620-12127
UMass Lowell5-1111-20309

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Florida St.12-626-914
Notre Dame12-626-1023
Va. Tech10-822-1148
Miami (Fla.)10-821-1242
Wake Forest9-919-1439
Georgia Tech8-1021-16106
NC State4-1415-17141
Boston College2-169-23219
Other games
UTMA 48 Final
Louisville 83
Morg St 63 Final
XAV 74
CLMB 57 Final
UConn 70
JAST 59 Final
Florida 99
MRST 58 Final
Kentucky 108
NULL 33 Final
Michigan 59
Mich St 55 Final
NC 67
NORFL 44 Final
Alabama 64
SE Mo St 68 Final
Missouri 83
Towson 54 Final
Kansas 100
Mt St Mry 37 Final
MU 91
Belmont 76 Final
Wright St 42 Final
Ohio St 73
Oregon 64 Final
Texas So 57 Final
Baylor 77
Cal Irvine 56 Final
California 77
LMU 69 Final
E Wash 69 Final