PITTSBURGH (AP) – Talib Zanna returned after sitting out the season opener and had 19 points and 10 rebounds, leading Pittsburgh to a 75-54 win over Fresno State on Tuesday night.
Cameron Wright added a career high-tying 13 points and added six rebounds for the Panthers, who dominated the paint and the glass. Pitt (2-0) had a 48-25 edge in rebounds and a noticeable advantage in scoring from the post.
After being suspended for a violation of team rules for the Panthers’ win three days earlier, the 6-foot-9 Zanna made eight of 10 field goals and grabbed more rebounds on his defensive end of the floor than the entire Bulldogs team did (five).
Freshman Paul Watson had 18 points to lead Fresno State (1-1), which traveled east of the Mountain time zone for the first of two trips this season. Cezar Guerrero added 10 points and a team-high seven assists for the Bulldogs.
Pitt began the Friday rout of Savannah State on a 19-2 run. Against the Bulldogs, the Panthers weren’t as dominant right from the tip – the game was tied 15-15 almost 10 minutes in – but they would pull away before halftime.
After switching to a zone that appeared to perplex the Bulldogs, Pitt closed out the first half by scoring the final 13 points. The Panthers took a 35-18 lead at the half, and the margin wouldn’t drop below 15 the remainder of the game.
Fresno State won its opener at UC Irvine Friday on an Allen Huddleston half-court shot at the overtime buzzer. The Bulldogs wouldn’t be close enough at the end to pull that off Tuesday. Huddleston, a reserve guard, finished with seven points against Pitt.
Starting the season without 6-11 sophomore Tanner Giddings because of a wrist injury, Fresno State’s undersized lineup was at a disadvantage throughout against a Pitt team that was one of the best in the country in rebounding margin last season.
In winning the first meeting between them and Fresno State, the Panthers improved to 103-3 against nonconference opponents at the 12-year-old Petersen Events Center.
Zanna’s game was the seventh of the senior’s career in which he had at least 10 points and 10 rebounds. He fell one point short of his career high of 20 points.
After making 33 field goals and shooting 52 percent from the floor in its season-opening 98-97 win at UC Irvine, Fresno State was held to almost half as many points, a 38 percent shooting effort and 19 field goals against the Panthers.
Pitt had more defensive rebounds (30) than Fresno State had total rebounds.