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Pitt rolls in Big East clash

Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker, left, blows past UConn’s Alex Oriakhi to put in a layup in the first half for two of his 14 points.

Associated Press

Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker, left, blows past UConn’s Alex Oriakhi to put in a layup in the first half for two of his 14 points.

PITTSBURGH — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun warned his players what they would experience at Pitt. The never-let-up defensive pressure. A very loud crowd that's only a few feet off the court and tries to intimidate unsuspecting teams.

No, this isn't Hartford or Storrs or even Maui, and now the Huskies know what their coach was talking about.

Ashton Gibbs had 21 points as Pittsburgh's balance overcame Kemba Walker's one-man offense for No. 4 Connecticut, and the No. 6 Panthers easily won the Big East's first matchup of Top 10 teams, 78-63 on Monday night.

Walker had 31 points but missed 17 of 27 shots as Pittsburgh repeatedly held the Huskies to a single shot in a possession, often a bad one. They shot 31.7 percent (19-of-60) and had only two players with more than five points until the closing minutes in the conference opener.

"They came to play, they wanted it and they got it," a worn-out Walker said. "They made me work for every basket. It was a tough night for me. … Their game plan was great, and they stayed with it."

That was just how the Panthers planned it.

"Our transition defense was good, and we really emphasized it," coach Jamie Dixon said. "We wanted to force them to take tough shots, and we did that for the most part."

Brad Wanamaker, who took turns with Gibbs shadowing one of the nation's leading scorers, added 14 points as Pittsburgh (13-1) beat Connecticut (10-1) for the fourth straight time and fifth in six games. The Panthers shot 52.1 percent.

"We let the game come to us," Gibbs said. "We took our time and get baskets because of it."

NO. 2 OHIO ST. 100, TENN.-MARTIN 40: William Buford scored the first seven points of the game and came out of an offensive funk to finish with 23 for the host Buckeyes (13-0), off to the fourth-best start in the program's 112 seasons.

NO. 10 MISSOURI 97, NIU 61: Marcus Denmon had 24 points for the host Tigers (12-1), who were up 57-17 at the half, their largest-ever halftime lead against a Division I team.

NO. 22 LOUISVILLE 104, MORGAN ST. 74: Preston Knowles had a career-high 31 points for the host Cardinals (11-1) in their final tuneup before a showdown with Kentucky on Friday.

PENN ST. 69, INDIANA 60: Jeff Brooks had a career-high 23 points as the visiting Nittany Lions (8-4) handed the Hoosiers (9-5) their third straight loss in the Big Ten opener.

AP POLL: Florida fell out from No. 20 as Duke returned to being a unanimous No. 1. Baylor and Tennessee also dropped out, and No. 22 Louisville, No. 24 Vanderbilt and No. 25 Temple moved in. In the women's poll, FSU fell from 15th to 22nd, and UConn was No.  1 for the 51st straight week.

Pitt rolls in Big East clash 12/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 12:13am]
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