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Pitt blows out Duquesne in City Game

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Mike Young and James Robinson led five Panthers in double-figures as ‪‎Pitt‬ throttled ‎Duquesne‬ 96-75 to win their 15th consecutive City Game Friday night at CONSOL Energy Center.

PITTSBURGH - Robinson had his best game of the season with 18 points and 8 assists, while Young and graduate transfer Sterling Smith both had double-doubles as Pitt jumped out to a huge first half lead and cruised to the easy victory.

Pitt's senior point guard has a habit of coming up with big performances in the City Game, as he scored 23 in Pitt;s win over the Dukes last season. This year, he had some extra motivation.

Earlier in the week, Duquesne guard Derrick Colter made headlines, telling the media that their city game rival was “slower than us,” inferring that the Dukes would have a clear advantage assuming they could dictate the pace of play. The senior held up his end of the bargain, scoring 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

Pitt couldn’t have scripted a better first half, as they shot 67.9 percent and scored a season high 57 points, while holding the Dukes to 30 points on 33 percent shooting. Pitt led by 30 with under a minute remaining in the half.

“They made a lot of their shots in the first half. We didn’t respond,” Colter said.

Robinson also played exceptional defense on hot-shooting guard Micah Mason, holding him to two points and no field goals in the game’s opening 20 minutes.

“James Robinson played great defense on me tonight,” Mason said. “He stayed with me.”

Dixon was also impressed with Robinson’s performance, specifically his vocal leadership on defense and his ability to find openings behind the arc.

First-time starter Rafael Maia made life especially difficult for the Dukes inside with two steals and six early points to help Pitt establish a paint presence they were lacking in their previous matchup against Purdue.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or whether you’re starting or coming off the bench,” Maia said. “I try to bring a lot of energy.”

The transfer from Brown finished with nine points.

The Panthers won the rebounding battle 40-29 after being beaten on the boards against Purdue on Tuesday.

“Practice was angry this week,” Dixon said. “We felt like we let one get away.”

With a large lead for much of the second half, Dixon experimented with different lineups, one of which included a two point guard look with Wilson and Robinson on the floor at the same time. Pitt’s small ball bench lineup also saw some playing time, with natural forwards Ryan Luther and Sheldon Jeter down low.

The Dukes made a brief run to cut the lead to under 20 points, which prompted Dixon to put an end to his experimentation. An emphatic dunk by Jeter to push the lead back over 20 with just over five minutes left in the game.

“Give Pitt credit,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “This was our worst defensive performance of the season.”

The Panthers finished the game shooting over 55 percent from the field, including 53 percent from the 3-point line. Pitt nearly led the game wire to wire, as Duquesne’s only lead came due to an illegal substitution—the Panthers did not turn their starting line-up in to the official scorer in time—before the opening tip that allowed Duquesne to shoot a free throw.

The win gives Pitt 15 straight victories in the series, including the last several by a decisive margin. 

The Panthers host Central Arkansas (5-1) on Sunday at the Petersen Events Center, while Duquesne takes on Maryland-Baltimore County at the Palumbo Center Tuesday at 7 PM.

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