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Pitt cruises to 30-point road victory over DePaul

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Gilbert Brown scored 17 points and Ashton Gibbs added 13 to lead No. 4 Pitt to an 80-50 victory over DePaul on Saturday. The Panthers will likely make the move up the polls to No. 2 for their Monday showdown against No. 15 Notre Dame.

Pittsburgh 80, DePaul 50
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Following the euphoria of Monday's home victory over No. 3 Syracuse and prior to another showdown at Peterson Events Center with nationally-ranked Notre Dame, No. 4 Pitt had to avoid overlooking a rebuilding DePaul team whose last Big East win came over one year ago. The Panthers proved they weren't peeking ahead, pummeling the Blue Demons 80-50 Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena. Gilbert Brown paced Pitt with 17 points, Ashton Gibbs crossed the 1,000 career point mark, Gary McGhee established a new career high in rebounds and Brad Wanamaker just missed a double-double for the fourth-ranked Panthers (19-1, 7-0 Big East).

In extending the Blue Demons' (6-13, 0-7) Big East losing streak to 20 games, Pitt improved to 7-0 in the conference for the first time in school history. Dating back to last year, the Panthers have won 10 straight in Big East play.

Pitt had a commanding 38-23 lead at halftime, and Brown gave the Panthers a 41-23 advantage after drilling a 3-pointer 1:32 into the second half. However, the Blue Demons went on a 12-1 run over the next five minutes, capped by DePaul's Michael Bizoukas snatching the ball away from Travon Woodall and passing to Brandon Young for a layup.

The Panthers responded with a 19-5 run of their own, including two Gibbs 3-pointers. Gibbs, who leads the Big East in treys, passed 1,000 career points on the latter of those threes, putting Pitt up 61-40 with 7:16 left to play. The junior guard finished the game with 13 points.

Wanamaker added nine points and assists apiece for Pitt, while J.J. Moore, Nasir Robinson and Woodall all scored eight. Robinson also snatched eight rebounds and showed off his athleticism early, taking a pass from Wanamaker, making a spin move and sinking a hook shot with 9:46 left in the first half.

McGhee, who tied his career high with 13 boards in Monday's win over Syracuse, grabbed 15 rebounds to set a new career best against the Blue Demons. With the 6-11 McGhee manhandling DePaul down low, the Panthers had a 46-29 rebound advantage. Pitt has owned the glass this season, outrebounding opponents by an NCAA-best 13.8 per game. The Blue Demons are getting beat on the boards by an average of 6.9 per game.

In addition to Moore and Woodall's contributions off the bench, Pitt got six points apiece from Lamar Patterson and Dante Taylor. Overall, the Panthers made 47.5 percent of their field goals.

Cleveland Melvin was the only DePaul player to reach double figures in scoring, posting 11 points. The freshman forward, originally a UConn recruit, also had five rebounds and blocked three shots. Center Krys Faber scored eight and pulled down seven rebounds and Tony Freeland registered eight points for the Blue Demons, who shot just 34.5 percent from the field.

PLAY OF THE GAME
Making use of his 38 inch vertical leap, Gilbert Brown cleaned up a Lamar Patterson layup attempt by soaring  toward the hoop and slamming it home, putting the Panthers up 31-21 with 2:39 left in the first half.

TEAM STATS
FG%: PITT 47.5, DEP 34.5
FT%: PITT 63.0, DEP 53.3
3-PT: PITT 53.8, DEP 28.6
RBS: PITT 46, DEP 29

LEADERS
Scoring: PITT- Brown 17; DEP Melvin 11
Rebounds: PITT- McGhee 15; DEP Faber 7
Assists: PITT- Wanamaker 9; DEP Kelly, Young 4
Blocks: PITT- Brown, McGhee 1; DEP Melvin 3
Steals: PITT- Woodall 2; DEP Kelly 3

NEXT UP
The Panthers return home for another Big East heavyweight bout against No. 15 Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Monday. The Fighting Irish are led by seniors Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis, both of whom entered play Saturday averaging better than 15 points per game. DePaul will try to exorcise its Big East demons Thursday at 9 p.m. against the South Florida Bulls.

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