A redshirt junior forward, Gilbert Brown tossed in 23 points for No. 22 Pittsburgh in an 83-58 win Saturday night at the Petersen Events Center.
"Coming from that last game, not scoring and not being productive in any part of the game, I just really wanted to come out and be aggressive and assert myself in other ways if not scoring,'' Brown said. "But it just so happened it was scoring. It was a good feeling to go out there and make my first shot.''
The Panthers (17-6, 7-4) shut down Seton Hall sharp-shooter Jeremy Hazell for the second game, even though the Pirates (12-9, 3-7) beat Pitt in their first meeting some two weeks ago. Hazell, second in the Big East with 23 points per game, was 1-for-7 from the field in 32 minutes.
Hazell was held to nine points after getting into foul trouble during Seton Hall's 64-61 victory Jan. 24. Senior guard Jermaine Dixon added 15 points, while junior guard Bradley Wanamaker added 13, junior center Gary McGhee had 12 and sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs tossed in 11 for Pitt.
"I knew if we stopped him that we had a great chance to win,'' Jermaine Dixon said. "Whenever he catches it, he's going to let it go, so I had to get up on him and play physical.''
The Panthers pulled away by going on a 22-7 run after leading 41-37, which caused Seton Hall to draw three technical fouls during a third consecutive loss.
The win was crucial for Pitt, which may drop out of the AP Top 25 after losing 70-51 to No. 6 West Virginia Wednesday. The Panthers had lost four of five after vaulting to No. 9 in the poll, and with a rematch against West Virginia and a visit by Villanova awaiting in their next five games, they had to get back on track.
Brown came out strong at the start after being shut out against West Virginia, scoring 11 points as Pitt took a 15-11 lead and causing a foot-stomping Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez to switch off defenders against Brown several times, once only 30 seconds into the second half.
Brown has scored 25 points (South Florida), 0 and 23 in his last three games. He didn't have a problem with the physical play that might have been aided by only two officials showing up for the game due to inclement weather. Evon Burroughs couldn't get to the game, so Mike Kitts and James Breeding worked the game by themselves.
The Pirates came back to take an 18-17 lead, but Pitt went on a 14-2 run that included three-point plays by McGhee and Wanamaker and was ended by Brown's layup to make it 31-20. Wanamaker also was held scoreless by West Virginia.
"I guess when it rains, it pours,'' Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "Or, like they say, when it snows, it snows. We had a tough one from the beginning ... walking to the hotel in a state of emergency in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe that affected us, I don't know.''
Herb Pope, the 6-foot-8 power forward who initially committed to Pitt in high school, missed his first eight shots while scoring nine points, 10 fewer than he had during the Pirates' home-court win against Pitt.
Pitt still hasn't been swept in a season series by the Pirates since 1993-94. Seton Hall lost its 16th straight on the road against ranked teams dating to a 65-61 victory against then-No. 8 Pitt on March 3, 2006.
It was an unusual Big East home game for Pitt, with a weather-slimmed crowd of 6,681 that was only about half as large as the normal capacity turnout of 12,508 and the game was not televised.
A two-foot snowfall that ended at midday led school officials to urge ticketholders to stay home and watch on TV unless they could walk to the Petersen Events Center. However, a planned ESPN Regional telecast that was to have been shown locally was scrapped early in the afternoon because of problems getting a full production crew to the arena.
Pitt plays host to Robert Morris in a nonconference game Monday at 8 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt 83, Seton Hall 58
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