No. 15 Pittsburgh 74, Oklahoma St. 68

Pittsburgh did what it does best and the Panthers are off to

another good start.

Ashton Gibbs scored 17 points, including three free throws in

the final 17 seconds, and No. 15 Pittsburgh dominated the

backboards in a 74-68 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday, the

Cowboys’ third loss of the season and all of them have come at

Madison Square Garden.

The Panthers (9-1) led by as many as 16 points in the second

half, but Oklahoma State was able to get within five twice late.

Each time, Gibbs was able to make at least one free throw.

But the game was won because of the Panthers’ rebounding, a part

of the game they have always excelled in and Pittsburgh is fourth

in the nation in that statistic right now.

”It is what we do,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. ”It is

ingrained in our program. We recruit guys with a nose for the

ball.”

The Panthers finished with a 43-25 rebound advantage and

outscored the Cowboys 40-26 in the paint.

”Rebounding was the key,” Dixon said. ”That’s what we

do.”

Nasir Robinson had 15 points for Pittsburgh, while Lamar

Patterson added 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

”We have a rebounding drill in practice where we throw each

other around pretty good,” Robinson said. ”We just go out and

rebound and everything else takes care of itself.”

Le’Bryan Nash had 20 points for the Cowboys (6-3), who lost to

Stanford and Virginia Tech last month in the NIT Season Tip-Off at

Madison Square Garden.

”You can’t get outrebounded like that,” Nash said. ”It was a

terrible job by us.”

Gibbs had eight points – including two 3s – in Pitt’s 17-7 run

to close the first half that gave the Panthers a 42-30 lead.

Pittsburgh extended the lead to 16 points three times, the last

at 59-43 on a basket by Patterson with 9:03 to play.

The Cowboys, who started the second half by missing 13 of their

first 17 shots, later rallied.

”You just can’t get down to a top 15 team by 12 at halftime and

get outrebounded significantly,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford

said. ”We dug ourselves a hole and when we came back that should

have been a run to put us up instead of getting close. We didn’t

adjust to their physicality until midway in the second half and we

played well from then on.”

Oklahoma State got within 71-66 with 20 seconds to play when

Markel Brown stole a pass, scored and was fouled. He missed the

free throw and Gibbs made two foul shots one second later.

Reger Dowell’s layup with 10 seconds to go made it 73-68, but

Gibbs made one of two from the line. The miss was his only one of

the game as he finished 7 of 8 and the Panthers were 18 of 29. The

Cowboys were 9 of 13 from the free throw line.

”Gibbs just controls the basketball game. He is a very

impressive player,” Ford said of the Big East preseason player of

the year. ”All they say about him is true. There is a great pace

to his game.”

After the poor start to the second half, Oklahoma State finished

14 of 33 from the field (42.4 percent) in the final 20 minutes.

”I wish we could have finished better,” Dixon said, ”we have

to do a better job of that.”