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11/30/2013 3:26 PM EST
Pitt stays perfect, pulls away from Duquesne 84-67
PITTSBURGH 84, DUQUESNE 67
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Cameron Wright scored a career-high 20 points
and Pittsburgh pulled away in the second half for a 84-67
victory over Duquesne in the City Game on Saturday afternoon.
Wright added five assists and five rebounds in 36 minutes for
the Panthers (7-0). Talib Zanna had 13 points and six rebounds
and Lamar Patterson chipped in 18 points, eight rebounds and six
assists as Pitt beat its crosstown rival for the 13th straight
Ovie Soko led Duquesne (2-3) with 17 points but the Dukes
couldn't keep pace over the final 15 minutes. Pitt put together
a 15-1 run early in the second half to break it open. The Dukes
made 9 of 18 3-pointers but shot just 18 of 35 (51 percent) from
the free throw line.
The result was a competitive game but one with a familiar
The Panthers have dominated the series between the two schools
located just 2 miles apart. Pitt has now won 32 of the last 35
meetings and all but one this millennium, with 11 of those
victories coming by double digits.
This one, however, was tougher than usual.
The Panthers used a quick 12-0 run to take control early, but
the Dukes eventually settled down in what second-year coach Jim
Ferry calls a "measuring stick" game for his program.
Soko led the way. The UAB transfer looked rushed while missing a
series of shots at the rim but once he found his footing, the
Dukes took off.
Duquesne used a 22-7 surge midway through the first half to take
the lead. Soko had little trouble getting whatever look he
wanted no matter who the Panthers threw out to guard him. When
pitted against Zanna, Soko broke down the bigger center off the
dribble. When facing Michael Young or Jamel Artis, he used his
strength to the lane.
Soko's resiliency produced the kind of back and forth play the
Panthers have largely avoided while sprinting to the eighth 6-0
start in the last 12 years. Pitt needed a dunk from Patterson
and a putback by Artis to take a 39-35 lead at the break, the
closest any opponent has been to the Panthers at the break all
It didn't last.
Tra'Vaughn White hit a 3-pointer to put the Dukes up 44-41 less
than 3 minutes into the second half, earning a quick timeout
from Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. White's jumper appeared to get the
Panthers' attention, and they responded behind Wright. He scored
seven points during the game-turning run, including a difficult
layup in traffic in which he absorbed a massive blow to the ribs
from Duquesne's Darius Lewis.
Josh Newkirk followed with a jumper, and Patterson converted a
layup and the ensuing free throw off an inbounds play to make it
The Dukes never got closer than eight the rest of the way,
though the first 25 minutes were proof that Jim Ferry's
rebuilding project is well under way in a game he called a
measuring stick for his young program, which features just two
seniors and 11 freshmen or sophomores.
Ferry is optimistic about the future, though it may be awhile
before he gets a sense of what he has on his hands. Guard Micah
Mason is out 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in right hand.
Freshman forward Isaiah Watkins is still recovering from left
knee surgery in October and freshman forward Jordan Robinson is
waiting to be cleared to play by NCAA.
Duquesne had just nine scholarship players on the roster
Saturday and the Dukes wore down under the relentless play from
the suddenly up-tempo Panthers, who are averaging nearly 82
points a game this season.
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