ShareThis Page
Sports

No. 2 Pittsburgh 73, Duquesne 56

| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006

PITTSBURGH - Aaron Gray had 15 points and 12 rebounds despite an off shooting night and No. 2 Pittsburgh quickly built a 20-point lead against shootings-depleted city rival Duquesne before easing to a 73-56 victory Wednesday night.

The 7-foot Gray, shooting nearly 70 percent for the season, missed seven of 13 shots but was too much for a Duquesne team that is down to nine scholarship players following the on-campus shooting of five players in September.

With reserve forwards Tyrell Biggs and Sam Young each scoring 10 points against the undersized Dukes, Pitt improved to 9-0 for the fifth straight season, and a fourth consecutive time under coach Jamie Dixon.

Mike Cook added 11 points for Pitt, which has won its last 20 games against non-conference opponents.

Despite Robert Mitchell's 13 points and Stephen Wood's 12, Duquesne (2-5) shot only 38 percent (20-of-52) while losing its fifth in a row after winning its first two games under new coach Ron Everhart. Duquesne is 0-3 during a difficult stretch in which it plays at home only once in nine games until Jan. 10.

It was the first Duquesne-Pitt game since the Sept. 17 shootings at a party students from both schools attended, so Pitt students did not boo the Duquesne players as they normally do opposing teams. Most wore red ribbons as a show of support for its neighboring rival. The universities are two miles apart and the student bodies often hang out in same locations.

The only time the Pitt student body that rings the court jeered the Dukes was when forward Kieron Achara, playing his first game of the season, fouled out late in the game.

For the first time this season, Sam Ashaolu — the Duquesne player who nearly died in the shootings — sat on the team bench. Still receiving outpatient treatment and therapy for two gunshot wounds to the head, Ashaolu previously sat in a private box or in the stands.

Despite getting a motivational lift from having Ashaolu back with the team, it was too much for the depleted Dukes to stay with one of the country's deepest and most talented teams.

Rotating players regularly, the Panthers quickly opened a 15-5 lead in slightly more than three minutes and upped the lead to 30-10 halfway through the first half.

Pitt has won eight of its last nine and 25 of the last 28 in a matchup known locally as the City Game. Duquesne last defeated the Panthers in 2000 and, because of the growing one-sidedness of the rivalry and the circumstances, the atmosphere was more muted than at any of Pitt's six previous home games.

The player who gave undersized Duquesne the biggest problem early was the 6-8 Biggs, who presented a difficult matchup problem and scored eight points within several minutes of entering the game.

Duquesne, scrapping for loose balls and pushing to beat the taller Panthers downcourt whenever possible, got within 47-37 in the second half. But Gray hit two free throws and Biggs scored inside as Pitt scored the next six points, and the Dukes could not make another push.

Duquesne played a No. 2 team for the fifth time in school history and the first since 1988, when Pitt also was second-ranked. The Dukes have beaten a No. 2 team only once, Saint Bonaventure in 1961.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me