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NCAA 2015

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Rutgers vs Pittsburgh

No. 17 Pittsburgh 83, Rutgers 54

CBSSports.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Rutgers coach Fred Hill voted for Jamie Dixon as the Big East Coach of the Year. Hill only wishes Pittsburgh's dominant-in-all-phases performance against his team hadn't justified his vote.

Gilbert Brown scored 19 points and No. 17 Pittsburgh took control early with a 19-2 run Saturday that sent the Panthers to an 83-54 rout and the No. 2 seed in the Big East tournament.

The Panthers (24-7, 13-5) were picked to finish ninth in the Big East preseason coaches poll, only to earn a double bye into the conference quarterfinals -- setting themselves up for a possible semifinal matchup against No. 10 West Virginia if both win Thursday in New York.

This kind of season wasn't expected from a Pitt team that lost four starters -- including all-Big East players DeJuan Blair and Sam Young -- after going 31-5 and reaching the NCAA round of eight last season.

"Losing the amount of talent he did, that's the sign of a great program to finish second," Hill said. "He's done a phenomenal year."

Pitt followed one of its most uneven performances all season, a last-second 73-71 victory over Providence made possible by Ashton Gibbs' buzzer-beating 3-pointer, with one of its best to win its eighth in nine games.

After West Virginia beat No. 9 Villanova 68-66 in overtime earlier in the day, Pitt knew it could be seeded No. 2 if it won. The Panthers needed about 10 minutes to make sure they did.

They turned a 5-3 deficit into a 22-7 lead during their big run, scoring 15 straight at one point while holding the Scarlet Knights (15-16, 5-13) scoreless for nearly 5½ minutes.

"We wanted to come out and play well and play together as a team," Brown said. "Against Providence, we had a couple of letdowns on defense so we really strived to make a strong effort to play defense, and it showed."

Pitt led by 24 at halftime and by as many as 32 in a second half. Freshman Dante Taylor had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Gibbs scored 13 and Brad Wanamaker had 12.

Brown followed up a scoreless game against the Friars with an excellent two-way game, getting six rebounds and three assists while making 3 of 4 from 3-point range and all six free throws. Pitt was 9 of 22 beyond the arc to Rutgers' 4 of 16.

The Panthers were especially dominant on the defensive end, limiting the Knights to 40.9 percent shooting (18 of 44) and outrebounding them 41-24. Rutgers was outrebounded 97-52 during losses to Seton Hall and Pittsburgh.

The Scarlet Knights looked a step slow at the start and never got better during a loss that dropped them into the 14th seed and a Tuesday game in Madison Square Garden. Mike Rosario scored 14 points, but he missed eight of 12 shots and was 1 of 7 from 3-point range. Austin Johnson scored 12 points.

"This was my worst nightmare come true, but you've got to let it go and move on," Hill said. "Mentally, got to get ready for the Big East tournament and just throw this one out. They came out and played hard and took us out of what we wanted to do, and it's very difficult to come back."

It wasn't for Pitt, at least not this season.

"This team has improved more than any team in the country -- more than any team probably anyone has ever seen -- from November until March, so why stop now?" Dixon said. "I don't think they were picked second by anybody."

The only downside to Pitt's victory was guard Jermaine Dixon being lifted with a sore right ankle early in the second half, after he scored 10 points in 12 minutes. Dixon missed the first eight games of the season after twice breaking his right foot, but he insisted this injury is minor.

"I could have played, but we had the game," said Dixon, who was coming off a 24-point game against Providence. "I'm good. I'll be ready [for Thursday]."

During the second half, Pitt's student body chanted and held up signs urging that former walk-on Tim Frye -- who didn't score all season -- get to play. Frye got a loud ovation when he entered with about five minutes remaining, but missed his only shot.

Pitt went 17-1 at home and has won 38 of its last 39 in the Petersen Events Center. The Knights are 1-9 on the road this season.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Rutgers (15-16)163854
Pittsburgh #17 (24-7) «404383
RUT:Mike Rosario 14 Pts
RUT:Hamady Ndiaye 6 Reb
RUT:James Beatty 2 Ast
PITT:Gilbert Brown 19 Pts
PITT:Nasir Robinson 8 Reb
PITT:Brad Wanamaker 5 Ast

Related Video

Gilbert Brown
Mike Rosario
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
H. Ndiaye, C301-50-26022
J. Mitchell, F283-70-02147
M. Rosario, G284-125-520214
J. Beatty, G262-50-01236
D. Miller, F201-41-33213
M. Coburn, G213-34-411210
P. Jackson, F170-20-00030
A. Johnson, F174-54-622312
B. Okam, C50-00-01000
T. Kokosinski, F40-10-21000
M. Kuhn, G40-00-00000
G. Echenique, FDid Not Play
M. Hasani, GDid Not Play
C. Rigoglioso, GDid Not Play
Totals 18-4414-221982054
Pittsburgh Panthers
A. Gibbs, G284-62-220013
B. Wanamaker, G264-92-535212
G. McGhee, C192-41-26015
N. Robinson, F191-30-08232
J. Dixon, G124-72-221110
T. Woodall, G252-31-12535
G. Brown, G-F225-106-663119
D. Taylor, F165-81-370311
C. Adams, G131-41-10304
D. Miller, F81-30-01032
T. Frye, G50-10-01000
J. Richardson, F-C50-10-01010
N. Rivers, G20-10-00000
L. Patterson, G-FDid Not Play
T. Zanna, FDid Not Play
Totals 29-6016-2239191883
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Ohio St.11-622-834
Michigan St.11-620-1030
Penn St.3-1415-15119

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Notre Dame13-425-528
N. Carolina11-621-913
Miami (Fla.)9-819-1171
N.C. State9-818-1248
Florida St.7-1015-15118
Wake Forest5-1213-17116
Boston College3-1411-18160
Georgia Tech3-1512-18126
Va. Tech2-1510-20226
Other games
Cincinnati 47 Final
GU 74
Tx A&M 69 Final
Oklahoma 54
W Virg 68 Final
MD 74 Final
Virginia 68
G Wash 57 Final
Temple 70
Syracuse 68 Final
Louisville 78
Kansas 77 Final
Missouri 56
SC 77 Final
VAN 73
Purdue 64 Final
PSU 60
STBN 72 Final
XAV 93
Texas 77 Final
Baylor 92
Iowa St 85 Final
K-State 82
Tenn 75 Final
Miss St 59
BYU 107 Final
TCU 77
Wisc-Mil 59 Final
Butler 68
NC 50 Final
NW 50 Final