Pittsburgh (21-2, 8-2) big man DeJuan Blair recorded a double-double of 14 rebounds and a career-high 32 points to lead all scorers. Pitt had four players in double-figures as senior forward Sam Young contributed with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. While Levance Fields also had a double-double of 13 points and a career-high16 assists. Brad Wannamaker chipped in with 13 points off the bench on five of six from the field.
DePaul (8-16, 0-11) was desperate for a Big East win, but that's tough to come by against the #6 team in the nation. The Demons jumped out to a good start and were competitive for the first 18 minutes. DePaul led by six with 8:25 to play in the first half. Yet Pitt went on a 13-0 run to go into the locker room at intermission leading 42-33.
Some lapses in transition defense were costly for the Blue Demons down that two minute stretch. "They hit two threes in transition where we had subbed and a couple of our guys had made mistakes in who they were picking up," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright.
DePaul never managed to come back in the second half. "Wearing teams down is kind of what we do," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. "We've had a history of using our depth to finish games off in the second half."
The Blue Demons struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 16.7% on the game to 50% for the Panthers. DePaul sophomore guard Dar Tucker was one of eight from three point territory. Tucker returned from a sprained ankle injury that caused him to miss Tuesday's game versus Marquette.
"It's straight," Tucker said of his ankle. "It's not 100%, but it's getting there."
Tucker and fellow sophomore Mac Koshwal led DePaul with 18 points apiece. Junior guard Will Walker also reached double-figures with 11 points.
One bright spot for DePaul was freshman big man Kene Obi who had a breakout game scoring a career high nine points. "Kene brought some energy and ability to do some things in a positive way," Wainwright observed.
Once again, the Blue Demons were dominated on the glass by Pitt by a 42-25 margin. "We just have to get tougher with hanging onto the ball with contact," Wainwright expressed.
DePaul was without the services of senior guard Jabari Currie who sat out the game with soreness in his left knee. "He's had a knee problem for the majority of the year," Wainwright shared. "He was unable to play today. We'll find out Monday. He's going to be evaluated."
DePaul redshirt freshman Mike Bizoukas banged his knee late in the second half. He walked off the floor, but did not return for the rest of the game.
The Blue Demons have a rematch scheduled at Pitt in two weeks on the 21st at the Peterson Events Center.
#6 Pittsburgh Rolls Past DePaul
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