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No. 15 Pittsburgh holds off SC State

Dec 18, 2011 - 4:07 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Lamar Patterson tied his career-high with 16 points on 7-of-11 from the floor while pulling down six rebounds to lead No. 15 Pittsburgh to a 69-55 win over South Carolina State.

Ashton Gibbs netted 14 points to go with six assists, while Talib Zanna donated 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Panthers (10-1), who have won eight straight contests since their only defeat of the season -- an 86-76 loss at the hands of Long Beach State on November 16.

"We did the things we normally like to do," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "We held them to under 40 percent, outrebounded them by 12 and kept our turnovers below 12. We did a lot of good things."

Brandon Riley scored a game-high 21 points and Khalif Toombs added 16 for the Bulldogs (4-7), losers of their last five games. Shaquil Barber contributed 12 points and five rebounds in a losing effort.

The game remained close for much of the opening 20 minutes, and South Carolina State held a slim two-point lead, 20-18, with just over six minutes to play in the half.

But Pitt responded with a 9-0 run to get out to a 27-20 lead with just over three minutes to play in the half before a pair of free throws by Riley snapped the run and made it a five-point game.

A jumper by Gibbs put the Panthers back up by seven, 29-22, and they took a 31-26 lead into the break.

Pitt opened the second half by outscoring South Carolina State, 9-8 over the first four-plus minutes of action to take a six-point edge, 40-34.

A three-pointer by Toombs with under 14 minutes to play pulled the Bulldogs to within 42-37, but the Panthers answered by scoring the next six points to take an 11-point lead, 48-37, with just over 11 minutes to go in the game. A jumper by Barber snapped the run and made it 48-39 in favor of Pitt.

Leading by nine, 50-41, with under nine minutes to go, Pitt outscored the Bulldogs 12-8 over the next five-plus minutes to take a comfortable 62-49 lead with 3 1/2 minutes to go.

The Panthers continued to make shots down the stretch and outscored South Carolina State, 38-29, in the second half to finish strong for the victory.

"I really thought we played as well as we could have with the exception of missing a number of pretty easy layups," South Carolina State head coach Tim Carter said. "Their length really hurt us, but I just expressed to our guys that the true definition of success is doing your absolute best, and I thought our guys really did their best tonight."

Game Notes

Saturday marked the first-ever meeting between the two programs...Pitt is off to a 9-1 or better start for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons...Pitt ended the day shooting 49 percent from the floor and 5-of-23 from three-point range, while the Bulldogs shot 39 percent from the floor and 8-of-14 from long range...Pitt dominated inside, outscoring South Carolina State 36-18 in the paint...The Panthers got 29 points from their bench, to only 12 bench points for the Bulldogs...The Panthers also dominated the Bulldogs on the glass, holding a 41-29 edge on the boards.