Pitt started off a bit slowly, allowing DePaul to hang around for the first ten minutes of the first half. But after a 10-10 start, Pitt took the lead for good and the rout was on. The Panthers won their seventh straight road game 80-50, and the outcome was never really in doubt.
Gilbert Brown, who’s looking more and more like an NBA prospect, led the way again with 17 points on 6-13 shooting. It’s not just his scoring that’s been making headlines, but his defense, as he came up with another outstanding blocked shot. Ashton Gibbs also helped out a bit. He scored 13 points and tallied his 1,000th career point as a Panther. That 1,000th point came on, what else, a three-pointer. With that basket, Gibbs became the 38th Panther in the school’s history to top the 1,000-point mark.
Heading into the game, it appeared as the rebounding battle would be a huge mismatch as Pitt was one of the nation’s best rebounding teams while DePaul is one of the worst. That proved to be true as Pitt outrebounded DePaul 46-29. Gary McGhee led the way with a career-high 15 boards. He’s not scoring all that much, but that’s not what Pitt needs from him. Defense and rebounding should be his first priorities and that’s exactly what he’s doing for the team.
Pitt also did a good job defensively on DePaul’s star, Cleveland Melvin. Melvin had scored at least 20 points in six of his past seven games, but he had his worst Big East game against Pitt, going for only 11 points on 4-13 shooting from the field.
DePaul isn’t one of the conference’s best teams … in fact, they may be the worst. But whenever you hold a conference foe to 50 points on the road, you’re doing something right. Pitt hasn’t gotten to the point where they’re distancing themselves from other Big East teams, but it’s hard to dispute that they are looking like its best team right now.
Pitt is due to take a big step up in the rankings this week as well with losses by No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Syracuse. The Panthers could be as high as No. 2 in the new ESPN/USA Today poll on Monday. Pitt now gets one day off before a Big Monday showdown against No. 16 Notre Dame.