2015-12-05 / State/National Sports

Pittsburgh thumps Duquesne 96-75

Men’s Basketball:

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh and Duquesne campuses are separated by just over two miles.

The gap on the basketball court remains considerably wider.

Michael Young scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and the Panthers extended their winning streak over their crosstown rival in the annual City Game to 15 straight in a surprisingly easy 96-75 win on Friday night. James Robinson added 18 points and eight assists and graduate transfer Sterling Smith had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Pitt (5-1), which took control early and never let the Dukes into the game.

“We know we’re a good team,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “We got thumped by a better team.”

And thumped quickly.

Pitt scored 22 of the game’s first 26 points and led by as much as 30 during a first half in which the Panthers shot 67 percent (19 of 28). Duquesne never got closer than 18 the rest of the way.

“I was excited about our passing and our unselfishness,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “I’m very proud of our guys.”

Eric James scores 21 points off the bench for the Dukes (6-2). Derrick Colter had 15 points but Duquesne shot just 43 percent and was outrebounded 40-29.

The Panthers came in smarting following a 13-point loss at home to No. 11 Purdue on Tuesday night, a game Pitt led midway through the second half before allowing the Boilermakers to pull away and become only the fifth nonconference opponent to walk off the Petersen Events Center floor victorious since the arena opened in 2002.

Dixon put his players through an “angry” practice on Thursday and his team responded with 20 minutes of nearly flawless basketball to overwhelm Duquesne.

The Dukes came in off to their best start in eight years, averaging more than 86 points a game and playing with a maturity Ferry said offered tangible proof that his slow steady rebuilding plan was working. Still, he cautioned beating Pitt for only the third time since 1989 wasn’t one of the goals his program set at the beginning of the season.

Good thing, because any hopes of an upset disappeared within minutes.

The Panthers needed up less than five minutes to build a double-digit lead. While the Dukes were missing their first seven shots and turning it over four times, Young, Robinson and Jamel Artis were busy going to work. By the time Colter knocked down a jumper for Duquesne’s first field goal, Pitt was in front 17-4 and just getting started.

“They came out very aggressive to us,” Colter said. “They made a lot of their shots in the first half and we didn’t respond back. It was mostly our fault. We’ve got to come out and be more aggressive and throw the punch first.”

Robinson, who has been tasked by Dixon to look for his shot more in his senior season, drilled all four of his 3-point attempts in the half, including three straight at one point as Pitt’s advantage continued to mushroom. When Duquesne’s Jeremiah Jones beat the halftime buzzer with a deep 3, the Dukes were in a 57-30 hole and well on their way to remaining winless against the Panthers since 2000.

“This game certainly won’t define our season by any means,” Ferry said. “What it does is it gets us back to the drawing board.”

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