PITTSBURGH Pittsburgh tried to use the same formula that has helped it win its first seven games by an average of 30 points: open up a big lead early, empty the bench and pick up another uncontested victory before the schedule toughens up.
Not this time. For the first time in years, the Panthers struggled to put away a team before leaving town for the first time, and they nearly didn't get the job done.
Levance Fields scored four consecutive points in the final minute and No. 12 Pittsburgh held off a frantic rally by city rival Duquesne, winning 73-68 on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten.
Sam Young had 23 points and five rebounds to counter Shawn James' 20 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for Duquesne (6-2), which never led but closed to within one point several times after falling behind 14-0 in the opening 3 1/2 minutes.
"We came out and attacked them and played hard and went right at them, but we got away from that," Young said. "They weren't as good as we thought they'd be at the beginning, and they were trash talking a little bit. We let up after that."
Mike Cook added 12 points and Fields and DeJuan Blair had 10 each for Pitt, which is 8-0 for the sixth consecutive season and has never lost to Duquesne in eight games as a ranked team.
Pitt won its seventh in a row in the rivalry known as the City Game and ninth in 11 games against Duquesne, which hasn't beaten a ranked team since 1997 but might have if it hadn't gone 2-of-20 from 3-point range.Pitt, a visiting team in its own city as it made the two-mile trek to play on the Dukes' court before a sellout crowd of 5,358, came out like this one would be over early.
The Dukes, 3-24 two seasons ago but since rebuilt by Everhart, looked tight and nervous early as Pitt seized its 14-0 lead. Young and Ronald Ramon hit 3-pointers and Blair, a physical 6-foot-8 freshman who outweighed James by 40 pounds, had six points and seven rebounds in the first nine minutes before getting into foul trouble."We knew it would be a game of runs it was 14-0, but we knew it wouldn't be 28-0 or 42-0," coach Jamie Dixon said. "We had guys in foul trouble and we used different combinations than we've used before."
(3) KANSAS 85, EASTERN WASHINGTON 47: At Lawrence, Kan., Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson dominated inside and Kansas cruised to an easy victory over undersized and outmanned Eastern Washington.
(4) TEXAS 88, NORTH TEXAS 72: At Austin, Texas, D.J. Augustin had 29 points and 10 assists and Texas ran its record to 8-0 with a win over North Texas, three days after pulling off one of the Longhorns' biggest road wins in recent years at UCLA.
(5) GEORGETOWN 70, ALABAMA 60: At Birmingham, Ala., DaJuan Summers had 18 points and nine rebounds and No. 5 Georgetown dominated down the stretch to beat Alabama in the first game of the SEC/Big East Invitational.
(18) CLEMSON 82, EAST CAROLINA 67: At Greenville, N.C., freshman Terrence Oglesby hit six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 22 points to help Clemson beat East Carolina.
(21) XAVIER 79, CREIGHTON 66: At Cincinnati, Drew Lavender scored 17 points in a tone-setting first half, and Xavier used another balanced, blink-of-an-eye run to set up a victory over previously undefeated Creighton.
(23) VANDERBILT 83, WAKE FOREST 80: At Nashville, Tenn., A.J. Ogilvy made a hook shot with 30 seconds to play and then hit two free throws to seal Vanderbilt's win over Wake Forest.