Talib Zanna tied a career high with 20 points to lead Pitt past Delaware State, 71-43, at the Petersen Events Center.
J.J. Moore added 15 and Steven Adams 10 for the Panthers, who improved to 11-1 heading into the final non-conference game against Kennesaw State on Sunday. The Big East opener is Dec. 31 against Cincinnati.
Pitt led 31-27 at halftime, but the Panthers quickly ended any hopes of an upset for the Hornets by going on a 15-2 run to open the second half. After Trey Zeigler completed a 3-point play, Pitt led 46-29 and the competitive phase of the game was over.
Delaware State was pesky in the first half. The Hornets held a 15-14 lead with 8:37 to go in the first half before Pitt went on a 17-8 run to take a 31-23 lead with 2:32 remaining.
Tahj Tate, who had 12 first-half points, cut the lead to six, then picked Tray Woodall's pocket as the clock was winding down and made a twisting layup with one second left to cut the deficit to four at the intermission.
The Panthers shot 68.4 percent in the first half, but the Hornets were able to stay close because they forced eight turnovers. The Hornets also made 4 of their 9 shots from 3-point range.
Tate made two of them, including a bank shot from the top of the key.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.