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Pittsburgh 81, DePaul 66

The SportsXchange

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- J.J. Moore tied a career high with 21 points and Tray Woodall added 18 as Pittsburgh closed its final Big East regular season with an 81-66 victory over DePaul on Saturday at Allstate Arena.

The No. 20 Panthers, bound later this year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, also likely wrapped up an 77-year series with the Blue Demons -- at least for now -- with their ninth win in 11 meetings.

Moore was perfect from the field (8-for-8) for the Panthers, who shot 33-for-46 for a school record 71.7 percent from the field.

The Panthers are still jockeying for the fourth and final bye to next week's Big East quarterfinals at New York's Madison Square Garden.

DePaul's Brandon Young closed with a game-high 22 points, Worrel Clahar matched a career high with 19 points while Cleveland Melvin and Jamee Crockett added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Saturday's game was also the potential close of a seven-year Big East era for DePaul, which could begin play with six other Catholic programs in a new conference next year.

Although the schools announced a breakup from the Big East earlier in the week, details remain to be worked out.

DePaul had one lead in a competitive game early in the opening half. But Pitt dominated in the final seven minutes using an 11-2 run to open a 41-29 lead with 3:22 remaining. The Panthers preserved a double-digit lead on the way to a 46-35 halftime advantage.

Pitt opened with nine unanswered points, employed five first-half dunks and had a balanced attack with nine players scoring. DePaul's Clahar, playing in his final home game, had a game-high 12 points at intermission.

DePaul crept to within seven early in the second half but got no closer. Pitt maintained double-digit leads through much of the second half, including a 17-point advantage in the late going.

Notes: No. 14 seed DePaul opens Big East tourney play at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday against 11th seed Rutgers at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Demons finished 15th, but the league tournament is a 14-team playoff with Connecticut ineligible ... DePaul forward Stuart Pirri got his first start of the season as one of two four-year players saluted on Senior Day. Guard Worrel Clahar, starting his seventh game, also made his final home appearance ... Pitt captured four regular season and two tournament titles in 11 Big East seasons, tied with Connecticut for most in the same span. The Panthers were also a cumulative 140-63 with a .690 winning percentage, best of any Big East member during their tenure.
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