Feb. 21, 2009
PITTSBURGH (AP) - DeJuan Blair out-muscled DePaul inside for 20 points and 18 rebounds while setting No. 4 Pittsburgh's two-game record for rebounds, and the Panthers pulled away early in the second half for an 80-61 victory on Saturday night.
Blair, averaging 20 points during a seven-game Pitt winning streak, followed up his dominating 22-point, 23-rebound effort in Pitt's 76-68 win at No. 1 Connecticut on Monday with a similar can't-stop-me show, gathering 13 rebounds in the first 13 minutes and 16 by halftime.
Blair's 41 rebounds in successive games surpass the previous Pitt record of 38 by former NBA player Jerome Lane.
The 6-foot-7 Blair slowed his rebounding pace in the second half, mostly because the Panthers (25-2, 12-2 in Big East) didn't miss as many shots - 10 of his rebounds were on the offensive end.
Pitt opened a 21-10 lead but didn't expand on it the rest of the first half - the halftime lead was 40-30 - and couldn't put the game out of reach until Sam Young and Tyrell Biggs led a 16-2 run to begin the second half.
DePaul (8-19, 0-14 in Big East) had no answer for Blair in losing a school-record 14th in a row, getting outrebounded by nearly 2-to-1 at 49-25. The Blue Demons lost 13 in a row three times previously, including successive seasons in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
The Panthers, 17-0 at home this season, played much like they did in beating DePaul 92-69 two weeks before, when they also allowed the Blue Demons to hang around until early in the second half before taking command. Blair had 32 points and 14 rebounds in that game.
Young, who scored 16 points, started the second half with a 3-pointer and dunked off a Levance Fields pass while Biggs scored three times during a run that put Pitt ahead 56-32. Biggs added 13 points.
The Panthers had little trouble against one of the nation's weakest major-conference schools despite making only 8 of 23 shots from 3-point range and shooting 44 percent (16-for-36) in the first half.
Dar Tucker scored 18 and Will Walker had 17 for DePaul, which has only four players averaging more than 4 points.
DePaul has lost its last eight games against Big East teams by an average of 20 points. The Blue Demons, who have played three Top 5 teams in the last four games, haven't had a single-digit loss since losing to Marquette 79-70 on Jan. 24.
Pittsburgh, which could move up at least No. 2 in next week's poll following losses by UConn and No. 3 North Carolina, plays at Providence and Seton Hall next week before closing the regular season against No. 10 Marquette and Connecticut at home the following week.
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