Young leads Pittsburgh over BelmontNov 26, 2008 - 3:45 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Playing without its double-double center DaJuan Blair, senior Sam Young made sure Pittsburgh stayed clear of the upset and kept its perfect November mark under coach Jamie Dixon intact.
Young scored a career-high 33 points as the fourth-ranked Panthers captured a 74-60 victory over Belmont on Tuesday.
Fellow senior Levance Fields added 17 points and six assists as Pittsburgh (5-0) improved to 29-0 during the month of November in the six-year tenure of Dixon.
"Belmont is an excellent team," Dixon said. "I think when we scheduled this game people kind of thought we were crazy for wanting to play such a good non-conference team."
Blair, who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.3 rebounds, missed the contest with swelling in his right knee. The game was the third in five days for the Panthers, who also play Friday against Texas Tech.
Last year's Big East Rookie of the Year, Blair registered 27 points and 18 rebounds in Saturday's 86-60 win over Division II Indiana, Pennsylvania. He was replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore 6-10 Gary McGhee, who was made his first career start. McGhee had two points and three rebounds.
The Panthers struggled on the glass without Blair as they were outrebounded, 41-30, and allowed 23 offensive boards.
"Depth at center or not, getting outrebounded is not something we can afford to do," Dixon said. "I talked to the guys at halftime about it and I thought we got it corrected ... They had some long rebounds that they got a hold of, but the numbers don't lie. That shouldn't happen to us."
Pittsburgh led throughout, but saw its lead shrink to 41-37 early in the second half. The Panthers responded with a 16-3 run, 10 of which came from Young, as they opened up a game-high 17-point lead midway through the second half and did not look back.
"When we huddled up with about 12 minutes to go in the first half, coach was really on us for being too passive," Young said. "I knew that that I had to be more aggressive in looking for my shot and kind of take the game to Belmont. Fortunately the shots just started falling."
Belmont (1-2) managed to shoot just 21-of-78 (28 percent) from the field and 9-of-29 (31 percent) from three.
"This was a missed opportunity for our team," Belmont coach Rick Byrd said. "With Pitt missing DeJuan Blair, we didn't know he wasn't going to play, and to go out there and shoot the way we did was unfortunate. If we shoot the ball the way we can, it's a different ball game."
Matthew Dotson led the Bruins with 16 points as the defending Atlantic Sun Conference champions played for the first time since an 86-64 loss to Austin Peay on November 17.
Alex Renfroe added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
BELMONT 31 29 60
PITTSBURGH (4) 37 37 74 FINAL
Nov 25 8:56 PM
- NCAA BB
(4) PITTSBURGH 37 HALFTIME
Nov 25 7:47 PM
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