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Talib Zanna Keeps the Pittsburgh Panthers Rolling

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Talib Zanna led the way in the second half for the Pittsburgh Panthers comeback against the Detroit Titans with the team now on a three game win streak after its only loss of the season.

Zanna had 11 of his 16 points in the second half after Pittsburgh began down 37-29 to the Titans before going on to win 74-61.

The 7-1 Panthers continue to roll after the five point loss to the No.3 Michigan Wolverines that handed them their only defeat of the year. Pittsburgh has given the Wolverines their closest game of the season so far, while only having Lamar Patterson score in double-figures compared to four players in double-digits for Michigan.

Freshman Steven Adams was scoreless in that game in 10 minutes of action and is only averaging six points and 4.4 rebounds on the season. Fellow freshman James Robinson has been giving Adams a run for the best freshman on the team with his averages of 7.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.3 rebounds.

After Adams received all the preseason attention given his seven-foot tall and 250lbs stature, Robinson has begun the season leading the Panthers in minutes. The freshman guard is first on the team with 30.3 minutes compared to Adams who is ranked sixth with 19.5 minutes per game.

Adams has had somewhat of an up and down start to the season for Pittsburgh and as he continues to adjust to the college game his numbers will improve.

Another player who should see his numbers increase is Zanna, the Panthers leader in scoring, rebounding and field goal average. His team leading averages of 13.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 64.5% from the field are good enough for only fourth on the team with 22.8 minutes per contest. Over five minutes behind third place Patterson with 28 minutes and only two minutes ahead of bench player J.J. Moore with his 20.8 minutes. The only time Zanna has cracked 30 minutes of action this season was against the Titans.

Zanna’s time on the court will need to increase but coach Jamie Dixon could be just saving him for conference play where he’ll be needed more.  The combination of Zanna and Pittsburgh’s assists leader and second leading scorer, Tray Woodall, provides the Panthers a duo that’ll be difficult for any Big East opponent to contain.

If Adams can use December to get comfortable along with Robinson and Patterson continuing their solid play from November, Pittsburgh will enter conference play with one of the best starting five units in the Big East.