Pitt's Nasir Robinson drives to the net against Connecticut's Charles Okwandu in the first half of Monday's game at the Petersen Events Center.
By Ray Fittipaldo Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kemba Walker got his points, but Pitt got Connecticut -- again.
Before a standing-room only crowd of 12,725, the sixth-largest in the history of the Petersen Events Center, No. 6 Pitt defeated No. 4 Connecticut, 78-63, in the Big East opener for both teams.
Pitt (13-1) has won four consecutive games in the series against the Huskies and five of the past six, dating to 2007. The Panthers have won 16 consecutive games inside the Petersen Events Center and improved to 142-11 all time there. They have not lost a home game since Jan. 20, to Georgetown.
Pitt improved to 8-0 against teams ranked in the top 5 of the Associated Press poll at the Petersen Events Center. Three of those victories have come against the Huskies. They also beat the Huskies when they were the No. 1-ranked team in 2009 and the No. 5 team in 2004.
Four players scored in double figures for Pitt. Junior guard Ashton Gibbs led the way with 21 points. Senior guard Brad Wanamaker had 14.
Junior forward Nasir Robinson, making his first start of the season, had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Senior center Gary McGhee also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
The Panthers shot 52 percent from the field while the Huskies shot just 32 percent.
It was the first loss of the season for Connecticut (10-1), which had impressive non-conference victories against Michigan State and Kentucky on its resmue enteirng the game. But those games were played at the Maui Invitational. This was the first road game of the season for the Huskies, who have seven freshmen on the team.
Jim Calhoun's young team could not handle the raucous atmosphere inside the Petersen Events Center, where the fans were clad in gold T-shirts, made it difficult for the Huskies all night long.
Even though Walker scored 31 points, he needed 27 shots to do it. Ashton Gibbs and Pitt's other guards frustrated Walker and made him take difficult shots and limiting his transition offense, where he gets many of his points on most nights.