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March 5, 2011

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No. 19 Villanova at No. 4 Pitt, Petersen Events Center, March 5, 2011

No. 4 Pitt 60, No. 19 Villanova 50


*Pitt’s win over Villanova gave the Panthers the outright Big East regular season championship with a 15-3 record. Pitt also earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Big East Championship. Pitt will play on Thursday at noon on ESPN at New York’s Madison Square Garden.


*Pitt captured a league-leading sixth Big East Conference title over the last 10 years and the fourth Big East regular season title since 2000. With six combined Big East titles, Pitt leads the league in most Big East championships won since 2000-01. In school history, Pitt has now won six Big East regular season titles (1986-87, 1987-88, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2010-11) and two Big East tournament titles (2003 and 2008).


*Pitt will enter the Big East Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed for just the third time in school history (1988 and 2004 were the other two seasons).


*Being the last home game of the season for Pitt, the Panthers honored their four seniors before the start of the game. Pitt’s four seniors included center Gary McGhee, forward Gilbert Brown, guard Brad Wanamaker and guard Nick Rivers. Pitt also honored senior student managers Shamus McNulty and Melanie Wilmot, along with senior athletic trainer Mike Lawther.


*With the win, Pitt’s senior class of Brown, Wanamaker and McGhee improved to 110-27 overall as a trio over the last four years. Pitt has 52 of those wins against Big East opponents — the most league victories for any four-year class in school history. Pitt’s senior class is now two wins shy of tying the school record for most victories for a senior class (112 set by 2008-09 class of Tyrell Biggs, Levance Fields and Sam Young).


*Some other achievements of Pitt’s senior class include: Led Pitt to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history (2009); Four consecutive 20-win seasons; Four consecutive 10-win plus Big East seasons; 52 Big East victories (the most for a four-year class in school history)


*Pitt’s 15-3 overall record in Big East play this season ties a school-record (2008-09). The 15 wins also tie the record for most Big East regular season wins with the 2008-09 team. Pitt’s 28-8 league record over the last two years (2009-10 and 2010-11) ranks as the third winningest Big East two-year period in school history.


*Pitt concludes its regular season with a 17-1 home record. The .944 home winning percentage ranked as the sixth best home winning percentage in school history.


*Pitt’s record vs. Top-25 (AP Poll) opponents in the Petersen Events Center moved to 15-5 all-time. Pitt also improved to 7-2 on Senior Day in the arena.


*Pitt improved to 149-12 inside the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers now have a 65-11 record against Big East opponents in the arena and have won 55 of their last 57 home games overall. Pitt has also won 27 of its last 29 home games against Big East opponents.


*Pitt won its eighth-straight home game against Villanova, dating back to the 1996-97 season.


*Today’s attendance of 12,843 marked the fifth largest on-campus crowd in school history.


*Coach Jamie Dixon improved his career overall record to 215-58, extending his NCAA Division I record for most victories after eight seasons as head coach. The list is now as follows: 1. Jamie Dixon, Pitt, 2003-11, 215-58; 2. Everett Case, North Carolina State, 1947-54, 213-52; 2. Roy Williams, Kansas, 1989-96, 213-56.


*Pitt converted 23 of its 26 free throws for a season-high 88.5-percentage. The 88.5 percent free throw shooting ranks as the fifth best game percentage in the Jamie Dixon Era.


*Pitt and Villanova exchanged leads for much of the game until the Panthers used a 14-2 run midway through the second half to pull away for good. Sophomore center Dante Taylor started that run with an offensive rebound and put-back to put Pitt in the lead, 31-30. Gilbert Brown, Travon Woodall, Gary McGhee, Lamar Patterson and Ashton Gibbs each scored during that run, helping Pitt to a 43-32 lead.


*Pitt outrebounded Villanova, 36-23 and had 11 offensive rebounds. Pitt has now outrebounded 25 of 31 opponents this year.


*With a second half 3-pointer, Gilbert Brown became the 40th player in school history to score over 1,000 career points. Brown now has 1,004 career points.


*Junior guard Ashton Gibbs was the only Pitt player to reach double-figures, scoring 18 points on 5-10 shooting, including 6-6 from the free throw line. It marked his 23rd double figure scoring contest of the year and 59th of his career.


*Lamar Patterson finished with a career-high 4-4 free throws made.

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