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Young, Blair power Pittsburgh past Vermont

Dec 7, 2008 - 3:56 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Sam Young and DeJuan Blair each recorded a double-double and third-ranked Pittsburgh won its 34th consecutive home game against a non-conference opponent with an 80-51 triumph over Vermont on Saturday.

Young had 28 points and 11 rebounds and Blair added 13 and 13 for the Panthers, who held a 49-31 edge on the glass, including 19-8 on the offensive end.

"This is a good way for us to go into finals week," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "I think we played well against a very good team. Vermont has great balance and they're very experienced. They're probably going to win their league this year so it's a challenge we looked forward to."

Pittsburgh (9-0) jumped to a 13-0 advantage and shot 47 percent (16-of-34) from the field in the opening 20 minutes to open up a 41-19 halftime lead.

"Coach told us that we were about to stop playing good teams and decent teams, and start playing great ones," Young said. "With what's coming up, we couldn't keep starting off slowly and having to battle our way back. We made a conscious effort to come out strong tonight, especially on defense and I think we were pretty successful with that."

The Panthers continue to roll at the Petersen Events Center, improving to 7-0 on the season. Their last home loss to an out-of-conference foe came against Bucknell, 69-66, on January 2, 2005.

Tyrell Biggs added 10 points for Pittsburgh, which limited Vermont to 29 percent (7-of-24) shooting from the field in the first half and 33 percent (17-of-52) for the game.

"I really challenged the guys before the game tonight to come out and give their best defensive performance of the season, and I think they did just that," Dixon said. "Vermont is a very good test with all the different looks they throw at you, especially with Marqus Blakeley, who's an excellent inside player. He makes them a versatile team."

Pittsburgh hosts University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Siena over the next two weeks before playing its first true road game at Florida State on December 21. The Panthers are 9-0 for the seventh consecutive season.

Marqus Blakely had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Joey Accaoui added 10 points for the Catamounts (4-3), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"We obviously didn't play well. It's disappointing," Vermont coach Mike Lonergan said. "I was worried about Pitt because of how hard they play. They're a physical team and we didn't compete with that. We also missed a lot of open shots. We were dominated. But it's one game and hopefully we can get back on track and compete in the America East."