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Balanced attack leads Pittsburgh past Miami, Ohio

Nov 18, 2008 - 4:37 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Miami's near upset of one top-10 team already this season put Pittsburgh on notice.

Sam Young led five players in double figures with 14 points as the sixth-ranked Panthers blew past Miami, Ohio, 82-53, on Monday.

Levance Fields had 12 points and 12 assists and Jermaine Dixon scored 14 for Pittsburgh, which won its 30th straight home game against non-conference opponents.

"I've heard from other coaches that playing against Miami is like spending two hours in the dentist's office," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "Watching film on them and then playing this game, I would definitely have to agree with that statement. This team just grinds you down. They're a tremendous, well-coached team that isn't afraid to play anyone."

Pittsburgh (2-0) shot 59 percent (32-of-54) and dished out 21 assists, displaying the well-balanced scoring attack that has some pundits predicting a Final Four appearance.

Monday's contest was a tale of two halves, with the Redhawks trailing by just five, 35-30, after 20 minutes.

"I was just trying to take what the defense gave me in the first half. There were other guys open for shots, so I just tried to make the right play and give the ball up," Young said. "In the second half there was a little more space so I was able to drive and get a good shot off going towards the rim."

Kenny Hayes scored 11 of his 19 points in the opening half as the Redhawks appeared poised to make a run at the upset after nearly pulling one off against fourth-ranked UCLA on Thursday.

Miami (1-2) trailed by one with under one minute to play against UCLA, but Hayes missed a game-tying 3-pointer with eight seconds as the Bruins went to win, 64-59.

After allowing the visitors to hang around in the opening half, the Panthers (2-0) used a 26-6 run to open the second 20 minutes to put the game away.

Dixon scored eight points in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Young, who also grabbed seven rebounds, added six points during the key stretch.

"The big thing though was the rebounding," Dixon said of the second half. "We can't get outrebounded and expect to win. So, getting DeJuan Blair back in the second half and a renewed focus on getting the boards really helped us put the game away."

Pittsburgh finished with a 37-27 advantage on the boards, led by nine from Blair. The sophomore forward and Tyrell Biggs had 10 points each.

Tyler Dierkers added 12 points for the Redhawks, who made just four of 18 attempts from behind the arc, including 0-of-9 in the second half.

"Pitt seems like a top-10 team," Miami coach Charlie Coles said. "They are strong, physical, but not dirty. They seemed like they enjoy playing together. They're good."