For years it was Duquesne that dominated the city of Pittsburgh in basketball, but that ship is long gone. The Panthers continued their domination of the Dukes by defeating Duquesne 80-69 at CONSOL Energy Center on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The victory marked their 11th straight victory in the City Game.
Pittsburgh jumped out to a 38-27 halftime lead. Seven players scored points in the first half including seven from Ashton Gibbs, Tray Woodall and Lamar Patterson.
Duquesne’s 27 points were the fewest first half total in any game for the Dukes this season. Pittsburgh’s defense deserves the majority of the credit. Khem Birch’s shot blocking and shot altering ability in the paint and the consistent contesting of shots allowed Pittsburgh to grab the 11-point first half advantage.
The Panthers dominated the Dukes 19-7 in rebounding during the first half.
Pittsburgh shot 11-22 from the three-point line, dominated the Dukes in rebounding and killed potential rallies from the Dukes all game long.
Gibbs scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Panthers. Dante Taylor provided a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) in his return from concussion like symptoms.
Taylor witnessed how well Birch was performing in his absence. He understood that he better increase the value of his play on the court unless his time would be diminished significantly with the emergence of the freshman.
He played inspired basketball on Wednesday, something that we rarely see from the former McDonald’s All-American. Competition makes players better. Birch has made Taylor better, and that will continue to happen throughout the course of the season.
Lamar Patterson scored 10 points, Tray Woodall and John Johnson added nine points and Nasir Robinson tallied seven points.
Sean Johnson scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Dukes. T.J. McConnell added 15 in the losing effort.
Pittsburgh returns to action on Saturday at Tennessee at 5:15 p.m.