It was a Big East men's basketball conference game that was dictated by defensive battles, physical play, and tempo. The game featured Pittsburgh leading 28-18. Pitt's 28 points were a season low for the Panthers, while DePaul's 18 were their second lowest of the season.
"We held them to 59 points," said DePaul senior guard Sammy Mejia. "I think defensively we did a pretty good job of it."
"We did some things differently from what we've done according to their style, their personnel, and their talents," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. "It was nice to see the adjustment the guys made and carried out. Very good job defensively."
"Our offense isn't going to be there every night, but if we have defense we're going to be in every game," said Pitt center Aaron Gray. Gray looked every bit like the pre-season Big East Player of the Year candidate that he is as he led all scorers with 18 points and collected seven rebounds.
Pitt's defense and hustle paid off as the Panthers managed to get 16 points off of 14 DePaul turnovers. "They got some extra possessions on some loose balls," said Blue Demons coach Jerry Wainwright. "They made two of their three point shots off of broken plays."
The Blue Demons were never really able to get into the flow of the game and get to their tempo. "We weren't moving the ball the way we usually do," said Mejia, who was held to 10 points. "Guys weren't moving without the ball as much as they usually do and it showed. We played to their pace. We're an uptempo team. For some reason tonight we fell into the pace of their game."
Pitt never trailed in the game and led by as many as 14 with 12:35 remaining in the game. DePaul fought back in the waning minutes and managed to come within a 48-41 margin on a Draelon Burns trifecta with 3:43 remaining. "I really thought that was going to spark the team up," said Burns
Wainwright felt that the Panthers were worthy of their number seven ranking. "This is the type of team that I would like us to be someday," said Jerry. "They have very good chemistry. They have the ability to control tempo. They obviously have an inside scoring threat that you need to pay attention to and make a decision on how you're going to play him."
The Blue Demons have been dealing with the distraction of the death of senior Lorenzo Thompson's father this week. Thompson is an emotional leader for the Blue Demons. "There was no carryover from the Villanova game," said Wainwright. "Emotionally the last two days we haven't been there. As I tell kids all the time, you'll play like you practice."
In the next few days, the Blue Demons have to figure out how to regroup, recover, and get ready to play the Scarlet Knights at Rutgers on Saturday.
Game Notes from DePaul Sports Information
DePaul (10-7, 1-2)
DePaul's 18 points at halftime were the second lowest of the season behind a 17-point first half vs. Kansas on December 2.
For the first time this season, Wilson Chandler did not score in double-figures… the Blue Demons are now 2-4 when trailing at halftime.
The loss snaps a nine game winning streak at the Allstate Arena that dated back to February 25, 2006 in a win over Seton Hall.
Draelon Burns has scored in double-figures in seven games this season.
Pittsburgh (15-2, 3-0)
Pittsburgh's 28 first half points is a season low.
The Panthers are now 7-2 when shooting less than .500 from the field.
Pittsburgh is 7-0 when shooting over .700 from the free throw line.
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 2-1.
Aaron Gray has scored in double-figures in 12 of 17 games this season.
Mike Cook has scored in double-figures in 11 of 17 games this season.
Official Box Score
#7 Pitt Ends DePaul's Home Winning Streak
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