No. 3 Pitt 56, Florida State 48

It's been said that defense wins championships, and the Pitt men's basketball team has been living off its stifling defensive play while

The Pitt men's basketball team pulled out a 56-48 win against Florida State Sunday night in Tallahassee, Fla., but the game was a lot closer throughout.

No. 3 Pittsburgh, now 12-0, overcame another poor shooting performance thanks to superb individual play from senior forward Sam Young and powerful post play from sophomore center DeJuan Blair.

Young scored 21 points, including two key baskets in the final 1:51, while Blair added his eighth double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Young had seven boards, while senior forward Tyrell Biggs added nine in the win. Young's tip-in broke a 48-48 tie, and he followed that with basket off a short jumper with one minute remaining to give Pitt control. However, FSU stayed close in rebounds, trailing just 42-36 overall.

The Panthers also got two lay-ups from Jermaine Dixon to close out the game. Dixon finished with 11 points, but continued to be inconsistent from the outside. PItt made just 33.3 percent of its shots. Dixon actually hit two treys, as the Panthers overcame an eight-point deficit with a 17-0 run in the second half to take a 43-36 lead.

Pitt's defense was at its best during this stretch. The Seminoles, who shot 29.8 percent from the field overall, couldn't connect from the outside or inside. The Panthers caused unforced errors and cut off passing lanes for several steals that led to quick fast-breaks the other way. That's Pitt basketball at its best.

And it's the best way for the Panthers to beat an opponent, basically to beat it into submission. Pitt won't beat too many teams, if any, with its shooting. The Panthers got some early inside shooting from Blair, but couldn't get the ball back there for a good 12-minute stretch in the first half and tried to open its lead with long-range shooting. But that wasn't the way to go.

The transition offense was pretty good for Pitt against FSU, but the Seminoles were able to stay close due to a free-throw advantage. The Panthers made 8 of 13 from the line, while FSU made 16 of 22. Neither team was any good from behind the arc. Pitt made 6 of 21 from there, while FSU was 4-for-18 from 3-point range.

Toney Douglas scored 20 points to lead the Seminoles, who shot 29.8 percent. Florida State (11-2) took its first lead two minutes into the second half on Ryan Reid's 10-foot jumper in the lane and built its advantage to 34-26. The Seminoles made just four field goals in the first half, three by Douglas, but only trailed 26-24 at the intermission.

This was Pitt's last non-conference game and first on the road. The Panthers played two neutral-site games in the Legends Classic in New Jersey.

Pitt is idle until its Big East opener against Rutgers Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J.

The Panthers' box and rundown:

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