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Pitt dominates paint to beat Duquesne 80-66

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Gary McGhee had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocked shots, Nas Robinson added a double-double with 14 and 12, and Ashton Gibbs scored 22 points to lead Pitt over Duquesne 80-66 in the City Game. Damian Saunders and Billy Clark each had 20 for the Dukes.

No. 3 Pitt used their size advantage to dominate city-rival Duquesne on the glass, wearing down the Dukes in an 80-66 on Wednesday night in the first basketball game in the Consol Energy Center.

Six-foot-11 senior center Gary McGhee was was simply too big and strong for the smaller Dukes, who played much of the game with only one starter taller than 6-5. McGhee had a double-double in a first  half that saw Pitt (8-0) maintain a 2-1 rebounding advantage, eventually out-rebounding Duquesne (3-2) 59-34. The Panthers entered the game with a nation's-best rebounding advantage of 16.2 per contest.

McGhee finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record seven blocked shots. Ashton Gibbs led all scorers with 22, and Nasir Robinson added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Damian Saunders scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds for Duquesne. Bill Clark also scored 20 and freshman guard T.J. McConnell added 14 points.

Duquesne used their full-court pressure to force five early Pitt turnovers and jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first two minutes. The Panthers adjusted, though, when back-up point guard Travon Woodall entered the game and took control of the offense. Pitt slowly pulled away in the opening half, eventually opening up a lead of 15 points, and entered the half with a 42-28 lead. Pitt led by as much as 19 in the second half, but Duquesne rallied every time the Panthers threatened to pull away. The Dukes closed to within eight twice in the second half, but Pitt answered and re-took a double-digit lead each time.

McGhee's backup, sophomore Dante Taylor, added nine points, six rebounds and two blocks in just 14 minutes.

DEFENSE

Pitt held the Dukes 25 points below their season scoring average of 91 points and held them to just 36.2 percent shooting (25 of 69). Clark, guarded mostly by Robinson, scored 20 but didn't get on the board until 3:12 remained in the first half and the Dukes down 15.

SERIES DOMINANCE

Pitt beat its Duquesne for the 10th consecutive season and extended its domination of the City Game with its 29th victory in the last 32 games. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is 8-0 against the Dukes, who last won in the series in 2000.

QUOTABLE

"They send everybody to the glass and they get people out of the way. Their size overpowered us." - Duquesne's Damian Saunders.

"He came up with every big rebound -- he hauled them in. He had to do a lot of things out there for us." -- Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon on the play of center Gary McGhee.

"I definitely felt like that, since I had a size advantage, I could have a pretty strong night on the boards. It was one of those nights where everything felt good." – Pitt's McGhee.

"You saw why they're No. 3. They box out and get their rebounders from the weak side to the glass better than any team in the country. You'll see it against Connecticut, too. We just couldn't get the ball off the rim." – Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart.

NEXT UP

The Panthers will host Rider at 2pm on Saturday afternoon. The game will be carried by FSN-Pittsburgh. Duquesne travels to Penn State for a 6pm tip on Saturday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game will be televised nationall by the Big 10 Network.

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