Hot-shooting Duke storms to win over Pitt
The long-awaited first visit by Duke to Petersen Events Center was expected to serve as a showcase for the ACC's leading player of the year candidates.
The only question was whether the winner between the nationally ranked teams would be the one featuring a 6-foot-5 fifth-year senior or a 6-9 freshman phenom.
Instead, Andre Dawkins stole the show by sinking six 3-pointers to lead the No. 17 Blue Devils to an 80-65 victory over the No. 18 Panthers on Monday night before a standing-room-only crowd of 12,944. It was the largest on-campus crowd in school history.
“I felt like we would defend better, and we simply didn't,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “They played well, and I don't think we did, so that's the result we ended up with. I need to do a better job of getting the message across defensively.
“We simply put ourselves in a hole by not getting stops.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski expressed great respect for Pitt's program and the atmosphere at Petersen Events Center, which was designated a “Gold Out” game as fans were given gold T-shirts.
“It's our biggest win because of the caliber of team we played against and the venue,” Krzyzewski said. “This is a spectacular venue. The crowd is terrific. There's a great spirit. What an addition to the ACC.”
Like Pitt's Lamar Patterson, Dawkins is a 6-5 fifth-year senior. Unlike Patterson, Dawkins sat out last season as a redshirt. Where Patterson struggled in shooting 4 of 14 (14 points), Dawkins scored 20 points by making 7 of 9 shots from the field, including 6 of 7 3-pointers.
Dawkins scored 14 points in the second half, making four 3s.
“We knew he could shoot,” Patterson said. “He hit a couple tough ones, which gets you going. Then we were leaving him open, which wasn't smart.”
Duke (17-4, 6-2) shot 52 percent (13 of 25) from 3-point range and 48.3 percent (28 of 58) overall. The 13 3s were the most Pitt has allowed all season.
Pitt (18-3, 6-2) was 21 of 51 (41.2 percent) from the field, making 5 of 12 3s.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes on defense,” Pitt forward Michael Young said. “They got a lot of open shots, and they put a lot of them in.”
The Panthers jumped out to leads of 8-2 and 12-6 before Duke answered with a 14-5 run sparked by a Jabari Parker dunk, two free throws and a 3-pointer. The Blue Devils took their first lead on Rodney Hood's 3-pointer with 8:21 left in the half.
Parker had 16 points and five rebounds in the first half and finished with game-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Hood, meanwhile, held Patterson in check in a matchup between a two of the ACC's player of the year candidates.
“Basically you had a wash there, Rodney and Lamar. They're two of the best players, and they kind of canceled one another out,” Krzyzewski said. “Both of those kids have to be exhausted. Thankfully, we have a kid of Rodney's caliber to guard him because he's had a great year, a player-of-the-year kind of year.”
Patterson was 1 for 4 from the field for four points and four rebounds but also had four turnovers and only one assist in the first half.
Pitt got a boost for the second consecutive game from freshman power forward Jamel Artis, who came off the bench to score eight points in the first half. Artis hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 24-24 and another to give the Panthers a 32-31 lead with 1:36 left in the half.
But Pitt had trouble protecting the perimeter as Duke made 6 of 11 3-pointers (54.5 percent) in the first half. Hood's 3 from the right wing gave the Blue Devils a 34-32 edge at halftime.
Pitt tied it twice early in the second half, but Dawkins sparked Duke to a 15-3 run. He started the run with a tip-in and finished it with three 3-pointers. In between, Quinn Cook hit a trey of his own, and Duke had a 67-54 lead at 5:40. Pitt went a span of 5:23 between baskets before a Patterson three-point play, and the Panthers were down 72-57 after Amile Jefferson answered with a three-point play.