Junior point guard James Robinson scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half as he led the Blue squad to a 57-53 victory over the Gold team in Friday evening’s annual Oakland Zoo Scrimmage. Friday evening’s scrimmage marked the first NCAA mandated practice of the season for the Pitt Basketball team.

With the score tied at 46-46 with 3:57 remaining, Robinson’s driving layup gave his Blue squad the lead for good. Following junior Joseph Uchebo’s offensive rebound, sophomore Sheldon Jeter converted a jumper, then Robinson was fouled and hit two free throws for a six-point Blue lead (52-46) with 49 seconds to go.

Robinson’s Blue Team battled back from a seven point deficit (44-37) with seven straight points to tie the game at 44-44 with 5:16.

Robinson finished with 18 points (5-12 FG) and hit 7-9 free throws. Uchebo registered the game’s only double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds, while Jeter and freshman Ryan Luther each added nine points for the winners. The Blue team also converted 73.9 percent (17-23) of its free throw attempts and outrebounded the Gold 31-27.

The Gold squad was led by sophomore Chris Jones’ impressive 16-point effort. Jones hit four of his six 3-point attempts. Sophomore Jamel Artis scored 14 points on 5-10 shooting and sophomore Josh Newkirk dished out a game-high nine assists.

Senior Cameron Wright (foot) and junior Durand Johnson (ankle) both were sidelined due to injuries.

The 32-minute scrimmage gave Pitt basketball fans their first competitive glimpse of the 2014-15 team. It was also the earliest preseason date that Pitt has ever hosted a scrimmage. The Panthers are ahead of schedule due to its Bahamas Foreign Trip in early August.

New Oakland Zoo tee-shirts went on sale Wednesday. Prior to the game, the Oakland Zoo and the Pitt Basketball team came together to pose for the team’s annual poster photo and shoot the Panthers’ pre-game intro video. Following the game, the Oakland Zoo held its annual pizza party on the floor.

Yesterday, Pitt hosted its annual preseason media day. Click here for a story/press conference video and photo gallery of yesterday’s event.

Pitt will host its second preseason scrimmage on Sunday, Oct. 19 with the annual Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair/Fan Fest and Blue-Gold Scrimmage from 1-4 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt’s two exhibition games are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 31 (vs. Indiana, Pa. at 7 p.m.) and Friday, Nov. 7 (vs. Philadelphia at 7 p.m.). Pitt opens regular season play against Niagara on Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.

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