Panthers cruise past No. 19 Hoyas
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WASHINGTON -- Of all the places Pitt will miss after leaving the Big East, the Verizon Center is at the top of the list. It turned out all Pitt needed to cure its problems was a visit to its favorite Big East road venue.
The Panthers came up with a victory they desperately needed Tuesday night when the knocked off No. 19 Georgetown, 73-45, at the Verizon Center. The win came on the heels of two losses to Cincinnati and Rutgers to open Big East play.
Pitt (13-3, 1-2) beat Georgetown for the 12th time in the past 18 meetings. The Panthers won seven of their final nine games against the Hoyas at the Verizon Center. This was the final scheduled game in the series because Pitt is moving to the ACC next season.
The 28-point margin of victory was the second-largest for Pitt in a Big East game. The largest was a 30-point victory at DePaul in 2011.
"We were clicking today," Pitt senior Tray Woodall said. "We came out and fought hard."
It was the most-lopsided home loss for Georgetown since a 40-point loss to St. John's in the 1971-72 season.
"It's embarrassing," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "It was very disappointing. I know this isn't who we are, but tonight was very disappointing."
Talib Zanna led Pitt with 15 points. Woodall added 11 for the Panthers, who shot 55 percent from the field.
The Panthers made a concerted effort to get the ball inside after attempting 26 3-point shots in their loss at Rutgers Saturday. They outscored the Hoyas, 32-16, in the lane and won the rebounding battle, 30-23, after getting beat on the boards by 17 by the Bearcats and Scarlet Knights.
"We wanted to be the aggressors," Woodall said. "We were going to be the aggressors today. We didn't want anyone to dictate to us. We wanted to do the dictating."
The tone was set on defense. The Panthers pressured Georgetown's guards into 17 turnovers and held the Hoyas to 35 percent shooting. They also limited the Hoyas' leading scorer, Otto Porter, to two baskets and nine points. No Georgetown player reached double figures.
"It's the Big East," Porter said. "The defense was hard. Every game we play the defense surrounds you. Their defense was good."
The aggressiveness led to some easy points in transition for the Panthers, who scored 20 points off those 17 turnovers. Everyone got into the act as Dixon played 10 players and all 10 scored.
Pitt's bench outscored Georgetown's, 31-17. J.J. Moore led Pitt's reserves with nine points. Trey Zeigler had seven and Durand Johnson six, both on 3-pointers.
"We're going to play all 10 guys," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "Our depth is one of our strengths, and we have to use it."
Pitt has won its past three games at Georgetown by an average of 19 points per game. The Panthers led, 37-22, at halftime. The 15-point halftime lead was the third-largest for Pitt in Big East road games. The largest was a 22-point halftime lead at Villanova in 1994 and the second-largest was a 17-point lead at Georgetown two years ago.
"If you could have predicted we'd do that, you'd have a lot of money," Dixon said of Pitt's dominance of the Hoyas in this building. Dixon could offer no reason for his team's excellent play against the Hoyas on the road other than "we have a lot of fans here."
NOTES -- Woodall was elbowed by Georgetown guard Jabril Trawick as time expired at halftime. The officials looked at a replay after the teams went to the locker room and elected not to call a flagrant foul. ... Georgetown had been 8-0 at home this season.
First Published January 9, 2013 12:31 am