Duke dominates Pitt men for 2nd time in 10 days
DURHAM, N.C. — Freshman Wendell Carter Jr. had 21 points on 9-for-10 shooting, and fifth-ranked Duke shot 52 percent in Saturday's 81-54 win against Pitt.
Fellow rookie Marvin Bagley III added 20 points for the Blue Devils (17-2, 5-2 ACC), who cruised to a second easy win against the Panthers in 10 days.
“They're an elite team,” Pitt coach Kevin Stallings said, “so we knew it was a tall challenge when we got here.”
Duke won the first meeting on the road by 35 points, then led by 22 points at halftime on the way to another blowout margin against Pitt (8-12, 0-7).
Parker Stewart scored 15 points for the Panthers, who shot 41 percent. Marcus Carr chipped in 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
Pitt continues hurtling toward a bottom-of-the-ACC finish.
The Panthers arrived with their worst start in ACC play — this is their fifth season — and now have their first 0-7 start in a conference since losing to Louisville for an 0-7 Big East mark in January 2012.
In the 87-52 win Jan. 10, Duke led 50-24 at halftime while Pitt had more turnovers (10) than made baskets (nine). In this one, Duke led 48-26 at halftime while Pitt again had more turnovers (11) than field goals (10). Duke also had a lot of points off turnovers (22 in the first game, 19 on Saturday) by the break.
The best news for Pitt? The Panthers committed only four second-half turnovers with the outcome long determined.
“In the second half, I thought we did a much better job of taking care of the ball, and that allowed us to play better,” Stallings said, adding: “But we've still got a long way to go.”
The rout gave Duke's Grayson Allen — who as a freshman provided the desperately needed spark to help the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA title game — a low-pressure day to re-find his missing shooting rhythm. He made 5 of 11 shots and 4 of 10 from 3-point range in 26 minutes; he was shooting just 30 percent from the field and 20 percent from 3-point range in six ACC games coming in. He finished with 16 points.
“The games before he went into this kind of shooting slump, he'd been shooting the ball great,” Carter said. “I believe it's going to fall at some point. We just keep telling him to keep shooting, and I'm sure it's going to be there.”
The Panthers host N.C. State on Wednesday.