No. 8 Pittsburgh 97, Md.-Eastern Shore 64
Pitt knows Gilbert Brown is capable of games like this. What the
Panthers would love to see is Brown having them on a consistent
basis, not just once a month.
Brown missed only two shots while scoring a career-high 28
points and No. 8 Pittsburgh took off following a slow start to beat
Maryland-Eastern Shore 97-64 on Saturday night.
Ashton Gibbs added 15 points and seven assists, and Gary McGhee
had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Pitt (11-1). Hillary Haley scored
17 for the Hawks (2-8), who have lost their last four by an average
of 30 points.
Pitt quickly opened a 9-2 lead, but Maryland-Eastern Shore came
back to make it 26-22 with 6:48 remaining in the first half. Brown,
coming off a 15-point game in a loss to Tennessee, then scored 10
points in less than three minutes to key a 21-5 run that made it
Brown, a 6-foot-6 senior who has been a streaky scorer
throughout his career, made 11 of 13 shots – 4 of 5 from 3-point
range – and both of his free throws while topping his previous
career high of 25 points against South Florida on Jan. 31.
”I still ain’t figured it out,” Brown said. ”But I’ve felt
good all week shooting the ball. My mindset has been no hesitation
– just go out and play basketball and be aggressive. … Sometimes
I feel like we’re holding back and don’t play to our talents.”
Brown had 19 points by halftime, then made a pair of baskets as
Pitt went on an 11-2 run early in the second half. He had 28 with
nearly 13 minutes remaining, but spent much of the rest of the game
on the bench and took only one more shot.
”I looked up and saw he had 24, and I said, `Oh, he’s scoring a
lot tonight,”’ McGhee said. ”It’s good to see him come out and be
Last season, Brown scored 19 or more points four times, then
followed each of those games by scoring in single digits the next.
Brown followed up the South Florida game by going scoreless against
”I know people, any time he doesn’t follow up one with another
one, jump on him and focus on the negative. It’s hard to have big
numbers every single game,” coach Jamie Dixon said. ”He’s gotten
better and better as the year has gone along. I like where he’s
going right now.”
To Dixon, what Brown needs to do to be a consistently big scorer
– he’s averaging 10.9 – is to get to the foul line more times and
take the ball to the basket more, rather than relying on scoring
primarily from the perimeter.
Travon Woodall came off the bench for 11 points and nine assists
as 11 players scored for Pitt.
Pitt played for the first time since its 83-76 loss to No. 7
Tennessee on Dec. 11 that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
The Panthers, not as quick and athletic as the Volunteers, trailed
by as many as 21 points in the second half.
That game, played at the downtown Consol Energy Center rather
than Pitt’s campus arena, suggested the Panthers might want to
schedule tougher non-conference opponents before Big East play
begins. Tennessee will be the only ranked opponent Pitt plays
before meeting No. 4 Connecticut on Dec. 27. Pitt has one more game
before that, against American on Wednesday.
”Pitt’s too much for us,” Hawks coach Frankie Allen said.
”That’s a team that’s going to go a long way. … When Brown is
making shots like that, it opens up a lot of things for them.”
Dixon contends the Panthers’ history of losing to lower-seeded
teams in the NCAA tournament has nothing to do with their early
The Panthers probably didn’t get much out of playing the Hawks,
who have lost their last 10 games against ranked opponents by an
average of 36.3 points. Pitt outrebounded the Hawks 53-26 after
coming in averaging 15.1 rebounds more per game than their
Pitt is 19-0 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools and
has won its last 55 games against non-conference opponents at the
Petersen Events Center. The Panthers have won each of their last
seven home games by at least 19 points.