for this game

Roberts scores 31 as Dayton dumps Pittsburgh

Dec 30, 2007 - 6:52 AM DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- It may have been more than two decades later, but Dayton once again rudely hosted a top-10 team.

Brian Roberts tied a season high with 31 points as the Flyers dumped sixth-ranked Pittsburgh from the ranks of the unbeaten with an 80-55 rout on Saturday.

Marcus Johnson had 15 points and Kurt Huelsman added 12 for Dayton (11-1), which won its 10th straight game.

"Dayton played very well," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "Give them a lot of credit on how they played, how they performed. They shot it well.

"We didn't play well, they played well and they deserved to win. We knew what this was coming into it. It's a tough place to play and a very good team."

For the Panthers to be making the trip to Dayton Arena was a rare occurrence, as it was the first time the Flyers hosted a team in the top 10 since No. 3 DePaul traveled here on February 18, 1984.

Dayton squeezed out a 72-71 upset in that previous game, a feat that was definitely overshadowed by the sheer dominance of its latest win.

"This is just another building block in what we're trying to build," Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. "It's a good block, a big block, but it's just one. And we need to continue to do that."

The contest was a back-and-forth affair early until the Flyers took control behind Roberts, who scored 12 straight points for his team to open up a 36-26 advantage with 3:03 remaining in the first half.

"I had to come out and be aggressive," Roberts said. "We had to be as aggressive as we could be and that's our key. Pittsburgh is a great team. They came out and played tough. We knew coming in we had to out-tough them and play just as tough. I'm just proud of the effort everybody showed."

Roberts, who scored 19 points in the opening 20 minutes, capped his first-half heroics with a 3-pointer in the closing moments, giving Dayton a 45-33 lead at intermission.

"Brian Roberts was phenomenal," Gregory said. "I don't even know if that's a good enough word. He controlled the game from the start to the end. I've been saying for a long time that he's the most efficient guard in the country, but now I think he's becoming one of the best guards in the country."

The tide continued to go against Pittsburgh (11-1) in the second half, as point guard and third-leading scorer Levance Fields suffered an ankle injury running into a cheerleader following a driving layup attempt with 15:45 remaining.

The junior, who hit a game-winning 3-pointer to beat Duke in overtime in the Panthers' previous game on December 20, had to be helped from the court and did not return after going to the locker room.

"(Levance Fields) never got in rhythm, and that was good for us, because he's really good," Gregory said. "I told Jamie, he's the closest thing I've seen to Mateen Cleeves in college basketball. He makes every big shot and he's a good leader. I hope he's alright."

With its floor leader sidelined, Pittsburgh continued to struggle, falling behind, 60-44, on another 3-pointer by Roberts with 11:01 remaining. Dixon shared in his team's frustrations, getting a technical for stepping onto the court while arguing a call with 9:59 to go.

The technical only added to Pittsburgh's problems, as Dayton later went on a 19-5 spurt for an 80-50 cushion with 4:19 to play. Roberts had eight points during the run.

The senior guard, who also had 31 in a season-opening win over East Tennessee State on November 10, shot 10-of-17 from the field with five 3-pointers.

Sam Young had 15 points and Fields finished with 13 for the Panthers, who shot 30 percent (19-of-64), including 3-of-25 on 3-pointers.

"The numbers weren't good looking at our offense," Dixon said. "Our offense wasn't great. We could have played better on the offensive end and credit them for their defense. They did a great job, played hard and defended well."