Pitt 67, Duquesne 58 (2OTs)

Ashton Gibbs shook off a poor shooting night to make a pair of 3-pointers in the second overtime, as the Pitt men's basketball team rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half to beat city rival Duquesne for the ninth consecutive time, 67-58, Wednesday night at Mellon Arena.

Ashton Gibbs missed his opening nine shots and was 1-for-12 from the floor before hitting two of three shots plus two free throws in the second overtime, Pittsburgh (6-1) surged back from a 40-24 deficit against Atlantic 10 Conference foe Duquesne (5-2).

"The guys told me to keep shooting, so that's what I did,'' Gibbs said. "I just took what the defense gave me, and I was fortunate enough to make a couple shots at the end when we needed them.''

The Dukes used only one reserve for more than a couple of minutes until three players fouled out during the final college basketball game at downtown Mellon Arena. The first basket by Gibbs was a 3-pointer that tied the score at 53-53 in regulation.

Bill Clark scored 23 points for the Dukes, who never trailed until Bradley Wanamaker's basket put the Panthers up 55-53 with 2:14 remaining in the first overtime. The Dukes were held to only seven points in the final 17 minutes.

Gibbs scored 15 and Wanamaker 14 for Pitt, which came back from a 13-point deficit to beat Wofford 63-60 in its opener. The Panthers shot only 33.9 percent (19-for-56) to Duquesne's 31.8 percent, as guards Eric Evans (3-for-17) and Jason Duty (1-for-8) made only 4 of 25 shots.

"We have a lot of confidence in Ashton, and we want him to take the big shots,'' Wanamaker said. "We know he's going to get hot, and he really knocked down those when we needed them at the end of the game and in overtime.''

Pitt made just 23 of 43 free throws to Duquesne's 7 of 14, and the Dukes were 9-for-33 to Pitt's 6-for-24 from 3-point range. So, both teams shot poorly.

Duquesne's Damian Saunders, averaging 16.7 points and 17.5 rebounds, was held to six points and eight boards before fouling out with 3:03 remaining while trying to defend against Pitt center Gary McGhee's dunk that made it 51-50. Pitt gained its first tie at 53-53 on Gibbs' 3-pointer with a little more than two minutes remaining for the last basket in regulation.

"We went to a two-three zone in the second half, and that really helped me out on defense,'' McGhee said. "It helped my offense, too, when I was able to go to the boards and get some of them, too. After the way things started, I was glad to be able to do what I did in the second half and overtime.''

Pitt matched its nine-game winning streak against Duquesne from 1982-88, when the schools occasionally played twice a season. The Panthers held a 54-41 advantage in rebounds with a strong second half.

Clark got the Dukes off to a hot start, hitting three 3-pointers in the first 3 1/2 minutes as Duquesne seized a 9-3 lead. The Dukes, an NIT team last season as Pitt was advancing to the NCAA's Elite Eight, led by as many as 13 in the first half and 33-20 at the intermission.

Even though Pitt is without any starters from that 31-5 team of last season and is playing without returning starter Jermaine Dixon (broken foot) and Gilbert Brown (academic suspension), the Panthers are deeper off the bench than Duquesne, which is missing star guard Melquan Bolding (broken left hand).

That depth began to show, as Pitt went on a 16-5 run that cut it to 45-40 with 9:48 remaining, and Gibbs' two free throws later made it 51-48. Duquesne was trying to work for a possible game-winning basket in the final seconds, but Evans muffed a pass out of bounds with 8.5 seconds remaining and Pitt couldn't get off a shot before the horn sounded.

The Dukes were the home team in the last scheduled college game at the 48-year-old Mellon Arena, where they played from 1964-88 and Pitt staged most of its top Big East games and top non-conference action in the 1980s and 1990s. Pitt and Duquesne hadn't played there since 2001.

The Dukes played their 355th game at the downtown arena, where they once drew crowds so small during the 1980s that announcer Ray Goss' voice could clearly be heard rows away from courtside. Pitt played its 113th game there, four against No. 1-ranked teams, all losses, including a 1961 loss to top-ranked Ohio State.

The nearly five-decade-old Igloo, originally called the Civic Arena, also was the short-lived home in the late 1960s for an ABA championship team that was called the Hornets and featured Connie Hawkins.

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