#5 Pitt Cruises Past DePaul

#5 Pitt Cruises Past DePaul

If you look at the final score, you'd think that Pitt had an easy time of it with DePaul at Allstate Arena on Saturday afternoon, but there was a time in the second half where things got tense for the fifth ranked Panthers.

DePaul (6-13, 0-7) went on a 12-1 run in the second half to pull within 42-35 with 13:29 left in the game.

But, Pitt (19-1, 7-0) is a veteran team that knows how to keep its poise.

"We are a very composed team," said Pitt guard Brad Wanamaker, who dished out nine assists. "College basketball is a game of runs. At that moment, we kept our composure, got some easy looks and took advantage of it."

The Panthers held the Blue Demons to 32.3% shooting from the field in the second half.

Pitt came in with a reputation as a physical team that dominates on the glass. Sure enough, the Panthers held a 48-33 margin on rebounds.

Pitt also came in prepared to handle DePaul leading scorer Cleveland Melvin. The Panthers held Melvin to 11 points. Melvin shot four of 13 from the floor and was frustrated with Pitt's physicality.

"I think they are the most physical team we played this year, because they were doing a good job on the boards," said Melvin. "They were just more physical and aggressive."

"We wanted to keep size on him and we wanted to keep quickness on him," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. "We didn't want him to beat us off the drive, because that's where he gets a lot of his points, and then offensive rebounds. Keeping him off the free throw line I thought was important too as well. I think he's going to be a guy that scores a lot of points in the Big East over his career. He's a good guy to build around."

"There is no question, they were very physical with him," said Purnell. "We were complaining about that, obviously we didn't get much relief there. We're going to play some big strong teams in the league, he's got to move. He just can't go stand on the block, stand seven or eight feet away, because those kids are too strong. He's quicker than about anybody. He'll move out and in and catch the ball on the move, he's hard to handle. He had some looks in there, it just didn't go in for him. That's going to happen some times. You have to give them credit, because they're banging and they're physical. I think that has something to do with it as well. He's still a very young player and he's got to gain some strength."

Pitt forward Gilbert Brown led all scorers with 17 points. Guard Ashton Gibbs broke the 1,000 point mark for his career with 13 points and was three of five from three point territory.

The Blue Demons will next travel to much warmer Tampa to take on South Florida on Thursday night.

Notes

- DePaul freshman Moses Morgan sat out today's game with a sprained ankle. He could be out for up to two weeks.

- Today's game was Pitt's largest road win in school history.

- DePaul men's basketball alum Terry Davis was inducted into the DePaul Athletics Hall of Fame at halftime today.

- DePaul signee Jamee Crockett was in attendance for today's game.

Box Score

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