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November 28, 2011

Taylor expected to play Wednesday

Pitt should have junior center Dante Taylor available for Wednesday night's game against Duquesne, head coach Jamie Dixon said Monday.

Taylor did not play in the last two games after suffering from migraine headaches. But Dixon said the junior from Greenburgh, N.Y., took part in an individual workout on Monday and will practice with the team on Tuesday.

"He felt he could have gone the other day," Dixon said. "We have a process in place, a whole regimen that we have to follow when those things come in to play. So he had to sit out 48 hours after he felt fine.

"He felt fine Friday night…and was hoping to play on Sunday. But due to the process that we have in place, he was told to be held out on Sunday. That's how it worked out."

In the first four games of the season, Taylor averaged 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds while playing a little more than 22 minutes per game.

In place of Taylor, freshman Khem Birch has started at center. In wins over Penn and Robert Morris, Birch has scored 23 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, and blocked nine shots. Dixon said that "it doesn't make sense to speculate at this point" on how the minutes will be split between Taylor and Birch.

"Either way, they're both going to play," Dixon said. "There's no question about that. Starting gets talked about a little bit more, but it's about minutes and who's playing and who's playing well. I've always felt that, either way, who was starting or who was playing, we'd eventually be to this spot and we'd have two very productive guys at that spot."

Dixon added that redshirt sophomore Talib Zanna has been Pitt's most productive forward in practice and that translated into the Robert Morris game when he grabbed 15 rebounds and scored 10 points.

Pitt will be the visitor Wednesday night when the Panthers face Duquesne at the Consol Energy Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.





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