Pittsburgh, aided by six offensive rebounds and three Duquesne turnovers, scored the first seven second half points to extend their halftime lead to 43-28. In one stretch it was "like volleyball" as Pitt grabbed four offensive rebounds off a missed three-pointer and three layups before a turnover gave the Dukes the ball.
Yet the game wasn't always out of hand.
Duquesne stayed close with Pitt through a cold-shooting and messy first half where the two squads combined for 23 turnovers. As noted above, at the 10 minute mark the Dukes were 5-of-15 and the Panthers 5-of-17.
Pitt responded with a 9-0 run capped by Tyrell Biggs' dunk that gave the hosts a 28-20 edge with 4:01 left in the period.
Duquesne's chances to get back within striking distance were deflated when a frustrated coach Ron Everhart was hit with a technical foul after Bolding was called for blocking on Levance Fields' drive.
This was the Red and Blue's second technical of the evening. Aaron Jackson was hit with the first for hanging on the rim while attempting a dunk.
There had been some questionable blocking fouls on Duquesne, which as a team practices hard to get in position for the charging call and the opponent's turnover.
Video replay indicated, in my opinion. in this case Bolding wasn't set when contact was made.
Fields made all four free throws to give the Panthers their biggest lead (10 points) of the half, 36-26, with a minute-and-a-half to go.
DU got the final points. Oliver Lewinson, set up by Saunders' offensive rebound to close the half, scored under the basket.
Saunders' putback stopped that 7-0 run and got the second half score down to 43-30. But like a wide receiver getting separation from a defensive back, the Panthers' offense kicked into gear as the number three team in the nation extended the lead to 18, then 21, and 28 points before taking the 78-51 win.
Pitt now holds a 46-31 advantage overall in a series that dates back to Jan. 13, 1932.
The last time these two City of Pittsburgh teams did not play was in 1969-70, near the end of the stretch when Duquesne had been the stronger program. The teams did not officially schedule each other since they would likely meet in the then-annual Steel Bowl. Pitt lost in the first round to Miami while DU topped Marshall, 120-75. The No. 11 Dukes beat the Hurricanes, 94-88, for the tournament crown.
The following year, they met in the only Christmas holiday Steel Bowl in the first round. Pitt upset the Dukes, 70-58, who were expected to face nationally ranked UCLA in the finals. Duquesne ended the 70-71 season nationally ranked at number 15.