Trey McGowens pumped in a game-high 25 points and added eight rebounds Tuesday night as Pittsburgh registered a 71-57 nonconference win in the first game at Robert Morris’ UPMC Events Center in Moon Township, Pa.
McGowens also dished out five assists and bagged four steals for the Panthers (2-1), while Au’Diese Toney added 11 points and Ryan Murphy and Justin Champagnie scored 10 apiece. Terrell Brown chipped in nine rebounds and five blocked shots as Pittsburgh controlled the paint against its Northeast Conference opponent, earning a 39-27 rebounding advantage.
Josh Williams scored 12 points, Jalen Hawkins netted 11 and Yannis Mendy added 10 for the Colonials (0-3), who canned only 37.9 percent from the field and were outscored 22-6 at the foul line.
After the game was tied at halftime, the Panthers flexed their muscles to start the second half, using a personal 6-0 run by McGowens to take the lead for good at 33-27. McGowens’ layup with 15:25 remaining gave Pittsburgh its first double-figure advantage at 43-33.
The lead stayed in double figures for the final 12:56 after Xavier Johnson canned a 3-pointer to make it 49-37. The margin climbed as high as 17 points in the last 4:46.
Robert Morris’ new arena, which seats 4,000, replaced an outdated campus facility known for hosting the Colonials’ first-round NIT upset of Kentucky in 2013. The Wildcats were the top-seeded team, but Rupp Arena wasn’t available.
In their new digs, the Colonials quickly fell behind 7-0, Murphy drilling a 3-pointer for the first basket in the building. Dante Treacy became the first Robert Morris player to score in the arena, sinking three foul shots 4:07 into the game.
That sparked an 18-0 burst by the Colonials, who took their first lead as Williams drained a 3-pointer with 13:03 left in the half. Charles Bain capped the run with another trey at the 10:56 mark, giving Robert Morris an 11-point margin.
However, the Panthers clamped down for the half’s remainder and actually led 27-24 before a 3-pointer by Bain allowed the Colonials to tie the score at 27 heading into intermission.
—Field Level Media