No. 5 Pittsburgh 82, Penn 58
Pittsburgh is unbeaten with an average victory margin of 22
points, yet there’s plenty for the Panthers to play for these
With the deepest roster coach Jamie Dixon has had in his eight
seasons at Pitt, the Panthers are using their pre-Big East schedule
to sort out who’s going to play. There’s so much competition for
playing time, no player wants to waste a shot, squander a rebound
or commit a turnover.
Nasir Robinson, still healing from knee surgery, led No. 5
Pittsburgh’s 15-0 run to close the first half and the Panthers used
their bench extensively while beating Pennsylvania 82-58 on
The Panthers, the first Division I team to get to 7-0, could
move up to No. 3 in the AP poll following losses this week by No. 2
Michigan State and No. 4 Kansas State.
Ashton Gibbs scored 12 points and Dante Taylor and freshman J.J.
Moore added 11 each as Dixon used 11 players throughout, all of
them scoring and playing double-digit minutes. Robinson, a starter
last season, wound up playing only 14 minutes as he competes to
keep the minutes he got at forward last season.
Pitt’s bench outscored the starters 46-36.
”The guys are handling it real well,” Dixon said. ”Everyone
can’t play 40 minutes. But we didn’t play like we were hungry for
stats. We played well, played unselfish. And that’s a challenge
when you have a big lead.”
The Panthers shot 52.6 percent (30 of 57) even as Dixon went
deeper on his bench than he has in any other game this season.
”It’s beneficial for the team to be this deep,” said Gilbert
Brown, who had nine points and seven rebounds. ”It’s unique and
special. We never want to take a play off.”
Miles Cartwright had 22 points and Jack Eggleston 16 for Penn
(2-3), which never trailed by fewer than 13 points during a second
half in which Pitt led by as many as 31.
Penn fell behind 9-0 and 15-4 before closing to 21-18 on
Cartwright’s 3-pointer with 6:48 left in the half. The Quakers
didn’t score again until Eggleston’s layup 30 seconds into the
second half, when they trailed 36-20.
”We couldn’t close out possessions,” Penn coach Jerome Allen
said. ”I don’t think their depth wore us down, I felt we didn’t
Penn, outrebounded 42-19 while losing to Drexel 77-56 last
weekend, didn’t have the size to keep Pitt off the boards or enough
speed to slow the Panthers on the break. Pitt held a 10-0
rebounding edge during the final four minutes of the run and
finished with a 35-20 advantage, 15-6 on the offensive end.
The decisive 15-0 run started with Brown’s dunk off Travon
Woodall’s feed. Woodall, yanked a few minutes before by Dixon for
leaving Cartwright undefended, followed with two free throws.
Robinson added a putback, a tap-in and a free throw before
Taylor’s three-point play made it 36-18 with 3.5 seconds left in
Robinson, who started all 34 games last season, is coming off
for the bench for now as he eases back into playing time. He had
surgery Oct. 26 to repair torn cartilage in his right knee and, at
the time, was expected to be out for up to six weeks.
Robinson, averaging 6 points per game, finished with nine points
and four rebounds as Pitt held a 35-20 rebounding edge.
”I thought he played well and stayed within what he can do,”
Dixon said. ”The reality is we’ve got a lot of guys (inside). He
missed some quality practice and game time, but I thought he played
The Panthers won their 52nd straight and the 101st in their last
102 at home against non-conference opponents. They hadn’t played
Penn since 1976 or any Ivy League team since beating Brown 95-47
during the 1995-96 season.
Pitt played the second of nine consecutive games in Pittsburgh.
The Panthers have played only two games outside the city so far,
against Maryland and Texas in neutral-site games in New York City.
They don’t play a road game until Jan. 4 at Providence, their 15th
game of the season.