VMI vs Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh grabs 60 boards, downs VMI

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Jamie Dixon believes No. 15 Pittsburgh can become a pretty good rebounding team.

VMI gave the Panthers plenty of practice.

Ashton Gibbs scored 20 points and Pitt set a school record with 60 rebounds in a 97-70 victory against the Keydets on Tuesday.

The Panthers (8-1) won their sixth straight with relative ease, burying VMI with a variety of layups and 3-pointers and handling the Keydets' uptempo style with ease.

Even better than the rebounding total to Dixon is where it came from. While Nasir Robinson led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds, six Panthers had at least five boards, the kind of aggressiveness Dixon is looking for going forward.

"Our depth certainly helped with that and it's pushing us in [a good] direction," Dixon said, whose team outrebounded VMI by 29.

Robinson showed no ill effects from a lingering knee injury that forced him to miss a day of practice. He had little trouble using his wide 6-foot-5 frame to bull his way to loose balls and showed a newfound ability to find open teammates, tying a career high with five assists.

"I thought he really played unselfish," Dixon said. "He really kind of set the tone for the game ... He really can be a guy that does even more for us than he has in the past. We need to continue to work on that and develop that."

Jordan Weethee led VMI (3-5) with 18 points but the Keydets simply lacked the firepower to keep up.

Three days after grinding out a 61-56 victory at Tennessee, Pitt nearly matched that total by halftime, racing to a 57-33 lead at the break to set a Petersen Events Center record for points in a half.

VMI briefly pulled within 15 early in the second half before the Panthers were off to the races again to send the Keydets to their fourth consecutive loss, a run that includes a 107-74 rout at the hands of No. 2 Ohio State two weeks ago.

"Our guys get to watch Ohio State and Pitt on TV," VMI coach Duggar Baucom said. "To come in here and play in this great arena is a good experience. I thought that if we can come out and execute like that against Pitt, then we think we can do that in our league and that gives us confidence."

The game is a one-off of sorts for the Panthers, as it is for nearly all of VMI's opponents.

The Keydets have only one player over 6-7 and try to make up for it by turning things into a track meet. It's worked well at times. VMI famously won at Kentucky in 2008, though there was no chance of repeating the feat against Pitt.

The Panthers are still in the midst of finding themselves, though they showed their typical grit while holding off the Volunteers on the road Saturday, a revenge game of sorts after Tennessee beat them down the road at the Consol Energy Center a year ago.

There would be no letdown against the Keydets, though the Panthers did their best early to slow things down. VMI actually held onto the ball for nearly the entire 35-second shotclock on its first possession -- a rarity -- and Pitt played with its usual defensive intensity for the game's first 4 minutes, or long enough to force VMI to miss its first seven shots from the floor.

By then Pitt was already up 6-0 and just getting started.

Dixon substituted liberally -- Pitt's reserves actually outscored VMI 34-33 in the first half -- and whoever he plugged into the lineup produced.

J.J. Moore hit four 3-pointers in the half on his way to 16 points while John Johnson showed flashes at both ends of the floor while competing with freshman Cameron Wright for the starting point guard spot in place of injured Travon Woodall, who will miss the next month with a groin strain.

Gibbs, the preseason Big East Player of the Year, will do the bulk of the ballhandling when things get tight until Woodall returns, and he found himself needing to get his teammates in order after VMI put together a 13-4 burst to start the second half and pulled to 61-46 with 15:58 to go.

The rally didn't last, Gibbs made sure of it. The senior missed seven of his first eight 3-point attempts but hit five in the final 16 minutes as the Panthers cruised to roll into a showdown with Oklahoma State at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

"I was hoping he wasn't going to catch fire like he did," Baucom said of Gibbs. "It's hard to remember that 1 for 8 because I remember the 5 for 6 after that. He picked his time and made some huge shots."

Copyright 2017 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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Nasir Robinson goes up strong against VMI's Nick Gore in the second half. Robinson scores 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting.  (US Presswire)
Nasir Robinson goes up strong against VMI's Nick Gore in the second half. Robinson scores 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting. (US Presswire)
Scoreboard
VMI (3-5)333770
Pittsburgh #15 (8-1) «574097
VMI:J. Weethee 18 Pts
VMI:K. Gabriel 5 Reb
VMI:R. Burks 6 Ast
PITT:A. Gibbs 20 Pts
PITT:N. Robinson 14 Reb
PITT:L. Patterson 6 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
VMIPittsburgh
VMI
Jordan Weethee
PITT
Nasir Robinson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
184019145
VMI Keydets
R. Burks, F354-110-23609
S. Okoye, F326-141-151414
K. Gabriel, G313-166-751112
R. Glasgow, G200-40-01440
N. Gore, F170-22-24102
J. Weethee, F256-132-240118
M. Sparks, G152-32-33017
J. Watson, C112-20-32024
D. Covington, F-C82-20-00024
W. Whiting, C60-10-00010
J. Carr, GDid Not Play
D. Absher, GDid Not Play
B. Brown, GDid Not Play
Q. Upshur, FDid Not Play
C. Burton, GDid Not Play
Totals 25-6813-2027131670
 36.8%65.0% 
Pittsburgh Panthers
A. Gibbs, G307-190-063320
N. Robinson, F278-93-4145319
L. Patterson, G-F213-100-06607
C. Wright, G161-40-02022
K. Birch, F111-30-06042
J. Johnson, G243-55-505113
D. Taylor, F233-44-571210
J. Moore, F195-82-251116
T. Zanna, F174-60-17038
I. Epps, G90-30-10310
A. Nwankwo, F20-10-02000
N. Rivers, G10-10-00000
T. Woodall, GDid Not Play
M. Gilbert, CDid Not Play
D. Johnson, G-FDid Not Play
Totals 35-7314-1855242097
 47.9%77.8% 
Southern
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Furman13-320-995
ETSU12-322-693
UNC-Green.11-420-8130
Chattanooga10-519-882
Wofford9-714-15197
Samford7-816-12164
Mercer7-813-15203
VMI3-126-20317
Citadel2-139-19297
W. Carolina2-137-21256

ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina11-323-58
Duke10-422-512
Louisville10-422-55
Notre Dame10-521-725
Florida St.9-521-611
Miami (Fla.)8-618-848
Virginia8-618-816
Syracuse8-716-1283
Va. Tech7-718-834
Georgia Tech7-716-1182
Wake Forest6-915-1236
Pittsburgh4-1015-1260
Clemson4-1014-1251
NC State3-1214-14106
Boston College2-129-18200
 
Other games
MRSH 56 Final
Syracuse 62
EVAN 48 Final
NC 97
Missouri 81 Final
NOVA 71
LB St 80 Final
Kansas 88
Wash 77 Final
MU 79
Memphis 71 Final
Miami-FL 54