PITTSBURGH -- Cameron Wright scored 14 points to go with eight rebounds and eight assists as Pittsburgh held off Albany 58-46 on Tuesday afternoon.
Lamar Patterson added 14 points to become the 42nd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points as the Panthers (12-1) wrapped up their nonconference schedule with a workmanlike victory. Talib Zanna chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds for Pitt, which won despite making just 1 of 10 3-pointers.
DJ Evans scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half for the Great Danes (6-7), who hung around until the end despite going more than 13 minutes without a field goal. Mike Rowley added 10 points off the bench for Albany, which cut a 16-point deficit to seven with 4 minutes left but couldn't get any closer.
The Panthers begin their inaugural season in the ACC on Saturday when they travel to North Carolina State. The warm-up didn't exactly go smoothly. Pitt appeared to be in total command at one point, taking a 46-30 lead on a layup by Patterson with 9:42 left.
Rather than pull away, however, the Panthers stalled. Albany went on a 13-4 run, pulling within 50-43 on a dunk by John Puk with 2:48 left.
Zanna responded with a layup and Pitt made its free throws down the stretch to hold on. The Panthers outscored the Great Danes in the paint 32-14 and outrebounded Albany 40-27.
The Great Danes took advantage of some early sluggishness by the Panthers, who were playing for the first time in 10 days. The defending American East tournament champions hit five of their first six shots and led for most of the game's first 12 minutes before the Panthers finally got things rolling behind Wright.
The junior scored eight straight points during a 12-0 run to close the half, showcasing the newfound aggressiveness that has turned him from role player to an indispensable part of Pitt's rotation. He hit jumpers from both corners, a pull-up from the top of the key and a driving layup during the burst while the Panthers shut down the Great Danes at the other end of the floor.
Albany missed its last nine shots of the half and went scoreless over the final 8:15 as Pitt took a 28-18 lead into the break. The advantage could have been much bigger if not for some uncharacteristically poor shooting by the Panthers, who missed all seven of their 3-point attempts and went 0 for 6 at the free-throw line.
Pitt's lead grew to 36-20 before a jumper by Evans ended a 0-for-12 Albany drought.