Dec. 1, 2010
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Don't get fooled, Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said. Pittsburgh will go to the glass like this against Connecticut and Georgetown, too, not just the non-conference and non-ranked teams on its schedule.
Ashton Gibbs scored 22 points, Gary McGhee wore down smaller Duquesne with 12 points and 13 rebounds and No. 3 Pittsburgh beat its city rival 80-66 on Wednesday night in the first basketball game in the Consol Energy Center.
The 6-foot-11 McGhee was too tall and too strong for the Dukes, who played much of the game with only one starter taller than 6-5. McGhee had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half and finished with seven blocked shots, tying a school record held by many.
"No question he was the difference," Everhart said. "He was very active and he presented a problem. And Pitt is a very, very good defensive team."
The Panthers (8-0), who came in with a nation's-best rebounding advantage of 16.2 per game, outrebounded the Dukes 56-35 after holding a 2-to-1 edge for most of a first half in which they opened leads of as many as 15 points.
"I definitely felt like that, since I had a size advantage, I could have a pretty strong night on the boards," McGhee said. "It was one of those nights where everything felt good."
Nasir Robinson added 14 points and 12 rebounds as Pitt beat its down-the-street rival for the 10th consecutive season - extending its domination of what is known as the City Game with its 29th victory in the last 32 games.
"They send everybody to the glass and they get people out of the way," Duquesne's Damian Saunders said. "Their size overpowered us."
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is 8-0 against the Dukes, who last won in the series in 2000. He said McGhee "came up with every big rebound - he hauled them in. He had to do a lot of things out there for us."
Bill Clark and Saunders scored 20 points each for Duquesne (3-2), which was held 25 points below its season scoring average of 91 points. Clark, guarded mostly by Robinson, came in averaging 17.8 points but didn't score until 3:12 remained in the first half and the Dukes down 15.
"You saw why they're No. 3," Everhart said. "They box out and get their rebounders from the weak side to the glass better than any team in the country. You'll see it against Connecticut, too. We just couldn't get the ball off the rim."
Freshman guard T.J. McConnell added 14 points, but the Dukes made only 36.2 percent of their shots (25 of 69) while constantly shooting over taller defenders. They also were 8 of 21 (38.1 percent) from the foul line, which also prevented them from threatening down the stretch.
The Dukes, who led Pitt by 16 points in the second half before losing 67-58 in double overtime last season, fooled Pitt briefly with its full-court pressure and grabbed a 9-2 lead with only 2:11 gone.
But the Panthers' significant size advantage quickly became a factor as they answered with a 13-3 run that made it 15-12. They opened a 34-19 lead on Travon Woodall's layup with 3:29 remaining in the half, often appearing to be playing volleyball on the offensive end while repeatedly getting multiple shots before scoring.
"Gary definitely got us going," said Gibbs, pointing to the two baskets McGhee made on passes that were deflected his way. "He was always in the right place at the right time."
McGhee's backup, Dante Taylor, helped out with nine points and six rebounds.
The Dukes never got closer than eight points in the second half, and Pitt used a quick 9-0 run to take a 58-40 lead with 13 minutes left. Woodall made two free throws after freshman Joel Wright was called for an intentional foul, and Gibbs made a 3-pointer from the baseline off the inbounds play to effectively put the game out of reach.
Pitt has won 142 of its last 153 games played in Pittsburgh.
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