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Blair dominates as Pittsburgh rolls Indiana, PA

Nov 23, 2008 - 2:36 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- DeJuan Blair had 27 points and 18 rebounds as sixth-ranked Pittsburgh crushed Division II Indiana, Pennsylvania, 86-60, on Saturday.

Tyrell Biggs and Ashton Gibbs each scored 10 points for the Panthers (4-0), who improved to 28-0 under coach Jamie Dixon in the month of November.

Blair was 13-of-14 from the floor and had eight of his rebounds on the offensive end, easily overpowering the smaller Crimson Hawks.

"DeJuan's been doing it every game since he got here, so nothing he does surprises me anymore," Dixon said. "The biggest thing for me has been his leadership and his focus in succeeding in things off of the court. His outlet passing has also gotten a lot better this year too."

A former assistant for Pittsburgh, Indiana, Pennsylvania coach Joe Lombardi was impressed with the Panthers' big man as well.

"I thought that was Shaq out there," Lombardi said. "His size was a problem for us. He's an immovable object and it's not like he's just a big guy, he's skilled too. He's better than last year. Last year, he was a man in waiting and now he's arrived."

Pittsburgh wasted no time as it scored the first 20 points of the game - 14 coming on layups - to take the lead.

Indiana (2-1) closed within nine, but Pittsburgh ended the first half on a 21-2 run, capped by Sam Young's 3-pointer, to take a 45-17 lead at the break.

The Panthers removed their starters early in the second half as the Crimson Hawks never threatened after the intermission.

"That's a huge opportunity when they can play big minutes together," said Blair about Pittsburgh's second unit. "We need them building chemistry together and getting accustomed to playing ball together at this level. There are definitely going to be games throughout the course of the season where we need them to step up."

Ashton Smith scored 16 points to lead Indiana, which shot 33 percent (21-of-63) from the field.

"It was a great experience," Lombardi said. "This is something our players enjoy, they have fun. This gives us exposure. We find out our weaknesses. Sometimes, players are in denial of bad habits and when you play a team like Pitt, you find them out right away. A game like this gives us a chance, as coaches, to be better teachers and develop better players in the long run."

Pittsburgh shot 52 percent (34-of-66) from the floor and outrebounded Indiana, 47-30.

    --- --- -----
    INDIANA PA 17 43 60
    PITTSBURGH (6) 45 41 86 FINAL

    Nov 22 5:44 PM


    Nov 22 4:41 PM
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    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Indiana (PA) vs. Pittsburgh(6)Nov 22 10:20 AM