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Young bounces back as Pitt topples Robert Morris

Feb 3, 2009 - 6:22 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Sam Young bounced back from a mediocre performance to lead No. 5 Pittsburgh to a 92-72 victory over Robert Morris on Monday.

The fifth-ranked Panthers rebounded from a loss to Villanova by defeating Notre Dame, 93-80, on Saturday. Young, who is averaging a team-leading 17.9 points, had a season-low five against Notre Dame.

Young got back on track against the Colonials, scoring 23 points to help Pitt (20-2) record its eighth straight 20-win season.

"That's a good win for us against an NCAA tournament team," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "Robert Morris played us very tough tonight which is what we anticipated. They're a very good team which does a lot of things very well and they're going to win a lot of games in their league. They're particularly good on offense, but I was also impressed with how they battled the whole way and never gave an inch."

DeJuan Blair added 18 points, Jermaine Dixon had 15 and Levance Fields chipped in 15 and 13 assists for Pittsburgh, which improved to 14-0 at home this season and 27-0 all-time against Robert Morris.

Jeremy Chappell scored 19 points and Rob Robinson had 15 for the Colonials (15-8), who are the current leader of the Northeast Conference.

"It was fun playing against these guys. We know them from playing in the summers, but we were still trying to get a win," Chappell said. "We came out strong and then got too comfortable and that's where Pitt took over.

"It's good to play out of conference, but it's still on the road and it's still a loss, but we'll take it because it will help us bounce back. This game showed that guys are getting too comfortable and now we just need to get back to business. This loss will help us in the long run."

Robert Morris was able to hang around early on before Pitt pulled away. The Colonials led 14-13 six minutes into the game and trailed by just two, 24-22, with 8:41 left in the first half.

The Panthers then went on an 11-0 run that freshman Ashton Gibbs capped with a 3-pointer with 6:53 left. Fields hit from the arc 43 seconds before the break to give Pitt a 53-33 lead at intermission.

"I thought we just did a good job playing our game tonight," Fields said. "We made the extra pass and were very unselfish with the ball. We pushed it pretty effectively in transition, and when we had some open shots we were able to knock them down."

Dixon and Gibbs each hit three 3-pointers in the first half for Pitt, which shot 67 percent (18-of-27) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

Robert Morris shot the ball almost as well but just wasn't able to stop Pitt. The Colonials finished 27-of-46 (59 percent) from the field, including 10-of-17 from the arc. They played the Panthers on even terms in the second half, 39-39, but were never able to mount any type of comeback.

"Once we started making mistakes, it was difficult. We can't do that against a top five team in the country," Robert Morris coach Mike Rice said. "We stopped ourselves. Pitt is very good in transition. We tried to keep it simple by playing the game by every four minutes. I thought we did some good things even though we didn't see much of us out there. Pitt has size, strength and they're disciplined."