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Pitt scores its largest Big East blowout, 93-55 over DePaul

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has said he is coaching his deepest roster since becoming Pitt's coach in 2003. His reserves have come through time and again for the Panthers this season, but Dixon and a sellout crowd at the Petersen Events Center witnessed their finest hour in a 93-55 romp over DePaul on Saturday.

Reserve guard Trey Zeigler led the way with 18 points, but he had plenty of help from his fellow bench players. The reserves scored 52 points and led a balanced scoring effort that saw nine players score seven points or more.

"We have a lot of balance, a lot of great players," said Zeigler, a transfer from Central Michigan who scored his most points in a Pitt uniform. "When you have 10 guys who all bring something to the table, you'll have nights like this."

The 38-point victory is the largest for Pitt ever in a Big East game. The previous record was a 36-point victory against West Virginia in 2003.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for Pitt (17-4, 5-3), moving the Panthers into sole possession of third place in the conference standings.

"We're coming together as a unit," said senior guard Tray Woodall, who had eight points, eight assists and two steals. "We have 10 guys who bring it every day. Anyone can lead us in scoring. We just want to keep playing hard."

DePaul (10-9, 1-5) lost its fourth consecutive game. Brandon Young had 13 points to lead the Blue Demons, who shot 27.7 percent from the field.

Coach Oliver Purnell's starting five combined to shoot 9 for 46 from the field. Young was 3 for 16 on field goals and 6 for 11 from the free-throw line.

"This was obviously a game we'd like to flush away and burn the tape," Purnell said. "Pitt did what they do well as a team."

Pitt dished out 23 assists on its 35 field goals and dominated the Blue Demons on the backboards, 58-34. The Panthers had 20 offensive rebounds and outscored the Blue Demons 48-16 in the lane.

"Our strength is our 10 guys," Dixon said. "We kept coming at them with unselfishness. The 23 assists stand out. We got a lot of good performances from different guys."

After the lead changed hands six times in the first five minutes of the game, Pitt seized control with a 23-3 run. Zeigler started the run with a three-point play and capped it with a bucket that yielded a 32-15 lead with 9:07 remaining in the first half.

The Panthers kept the momentum for the remainder of the half and took a 53-30 lead into the locker room. The 23-point halftime lead was the second-largest halftime lead in a Big East game for the Panthers.

The Panthers shot 50 percent from the field in the half and pulled down 30 rebounds, including 11 offensive. They outscored DePaul 24-6 in the lane and received 33 points from their reserves.

Dante Taylor scored eight points in the half, six of them coming in the final 3:14. Zeigler and Durand Johnson had seven apiece off the bench.

DePaul shot 27 percent in the first half and compounded its shooting woes by turning the ball over 10 times. The Panthers converted the miscues into 14 points.

Things did not get any better for DePaul after halftime. Reserve forward J.J. Moore gave Pitt a 68-38 lead with 11:58 remaining. The biggest lead was 42, after Zeigler put the Panthers up 89-47 with 4:44 remaining.

NOTES: Pitt has won eight of the nine meetings against DePaul since the Blue Demons joined the Big East. ... After going 5-13 in Big East play last season, the Panthers registered their fifth conference victory with 10 games remaining in the regular season. ... DePaul fell to 6-72 in Big East games since 2008-09.
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