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Hot-shooting Pittsburgh outclasses UMBC

Dec 14, 2008 - 3:56 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Sam Young scored 19 points and DeJuan Blair chipped in 12 as No. 3 Pittsburgh rolled past an overmatched Maryland-Baltimore County, 91-56, on Saturday.

Levance Fields added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, for the Panthers (10-0), who shot 55 percent (36-of-55) and got 40 points off the bench. Pittsburgh has won each of its games this season by at least 13 points.

"I thought we really took good shots all the way through," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "I don't want to sound overconfident, but I think this was a long time coming for us. We've been shooting the ball pretty well, but it just hasn't been going in for us. We thought we might see a zone that would sag way off and we did a good job of recognizing that and really getting into our zone offense right away."

None of the starters for the Panthers played more than 25 minutes, and Ashton Gibbs led the attack off the bench with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

"Their bench is deep," UMBC coach Randy Monroe said. "Usually, the first five are good, but Pitt's first five are veterans and they are battle-tested. That's why they are in the position that they're in. They're well-coached. They seem like they play well together. I can see them going far into the NCAA Tournament."

Pittsburgh went about setting the tone early, going on a 24-8 run after the Retrievers jumped to a 5-0 lead. Fields' 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Panthers a 42-25 edge at the break.

Young and Fields came out on fire in the second half, combining to drain three 3-pointers in the first five minutes to stretch Pittsburgh's lead to 55-32.

"A lot of outside shots isn't usually how we run our offense," Young said. "We're a team that likes to grind it out and bang down low. But when you have a zone that sags as much as the one we saw tonight, you have to knock down some outside shots. Once we started to hit a couple, we got into a rhythm and just kept going."

The Panthers led by as much as 85-48 when Gilbert Brown hit a jumper with 2:44 remaining in the contest.

"It's been really nice to see Gilbert Brown get healthier and healthier," Dixon said. "Even if he doesn't score, he's got such a great understanding of what we do out there and he's a valuable asset to have on the floor."

Pittsburgh controlled the inside for most of the game, winning the battle of the boards, 33-20, and scoring 28 points in the paint.

Darryl Proctor led the way with 13 points for UMBC (5-4), which turned the ball over 14 times, leading to 19 points for the Panthers.

"They are a very good basketball team," Monroe said of the Panthers. "But we scored 56 points against them. I'm proud of our guys. They played as well as they could. They are the No. 3 team in the nation.

"It's hard to play when Pitt has guys like Levance Fields, DeJuan Blair, and Sam Young and each of their guys outweigh my guys by 40 to 50 pounds each. I thought our effort was strong."