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Young continues scoring binge to carry Pittsburgh

Jan 12, 2008 - 11:20 PM By Chris Adamski PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Sam Young continues to establish himself as an offensive force in the Big East Conference.

The 6-foot-6 junior forward had a career-high 28 points to lead No. 18 Pittsburgh to an 84-70 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon in its league home opener.

Freshman center DeJuan Blair added 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Panthers (14-2, 2-1 Big East) won their second game in a row after a stretch of losing two of three following serious injuries to guards Mike Cook and Levance Fields.

Young, who entered the game leading the team and ranking fourth in the Big East with 17.8 points per game, has averaged 21.3 in the four games Pittsburgh has played without Cook and Fields. It was the sixth time this season - and second game in a row - Young has scored at least 20 points.

"(Young) just keeps getting better," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "He works hard, he plays hard. He's improving in every area. ... He's the hardest working guy in practice, and every day the guy improves."

"I was able to get a lot of points under the basket, and I was hitting outside, too, so I was pretty hard to contain," Young said.

Eugene Harvey had 25 points and Brian Laing 17 to lead the Pirates (10-6, 0-3), who have lost three of their past four games.

Laing, who entered the game second in the conference in scoring, left the game briefly early in the second half due to a minor lower-body injury. He returned, though, but was not the same player, failing to tally anymore points.

Ronald Ramon added 14 points and eight assists for Pittsburgh, which never trailed in the contest. The Panthers led by only three at halftime but opened the second half on a 12-5 run and virtually sustained that advantage through the end of the contest.

When Laing left the game, Pittsburgh had only a seven-point lead. Seton Hall already was playing without starting guard Paul Gause, who is out 2-to-3 weeks with a broken hand.

"With Brian out of the game, we have to almost manufacture baskets," Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "We just have a hard time scoring without Brian Laing. When he got hurt, you could see our drop-off there."

Pitt was 11-for-20 from 3-point range and held a 45-36 rebounding advantage. The Panthers assisted on 22 of their 28 field goals, while the Pirates had only eight assists in the game.

"We just took what they gave us," said Pitt guard Keith Benjamin, who had 12 points and six assists. "We passed it inside to DeJuan and Sam, but when (Seton Hall) starting dropping down, (Young and Blair) did a good job kicking it back out."

The Panthers, who will host No. 8 Georgetown on Monday, have won 12 in a row at home.

"We're happy we were able to do some things today, but our defense can be way better," Blair said. "We just have to work hard on that with Georgetown coming in on Monday. Our defense has to be at its best. We'll get there."