BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Whether it is as a member of the Big East or Atlantic Coast Conference, there is one truism about the Pittsburgh Panthers.
They really feel comfortable in New York.
"New York is a second home to us," Lamar Patterson said after Pitt routed Stanford 88-67 in the championship game of the Progressive Legends Classic on Tuesday night.
"It's just something that I think will continue on forever, basically."
Patterson's 24 points led five players in double-figure scoring. Durand Johnson and Talib Zanna had 14 each. Cameron Wright chipped in with 13 and James Robinson added 10.
Pitt improved to 6-0, and has a 31.3 point average margin of victory. Stanford fell to 5-2.
"We shoot a little better," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "Our guards have some experience. We have a good inside presence in (Zanna) and the new guys are all really skilled offensively. "
Dwight Powell led the Cardinal with 20 points. Anthony Brown and Chasson Randle had 16 and 10, respectively.
While Powell led all players with nine rebounds, Pitt out-rebounded Stanford 31-29 and had a 10-6 advantage in offensive boards. The Panthers used the additional possessions to score 11 second-chance points.
Pitt went into halftime with a 43-28 lead. Much of that advantage was gained in a 21-8 run late in the first half. Twelve of Pitt's 21 points in that span came from the foul line. The Panthers made 14 of 15 free throws in the first half and finished the game at 30 of 34 from the stripe.
It wasn't just from the foul line that Pitt hit from. The Panthers ended the game having made 45.5 percent of their shots from the field, including 47.1 percent from three-point range.
"So we shoot the ball a little better," Dixon said. "We make free throws at a little higher rate and we've always had good passers. That's pretty consistent this year as well. We've always been unselfish. I think we're pushing the ball a little more. But I think we're getting baskets off of turnovers more so this year. We did that a little bit last year, too. "
While Stanford connected on 50 percent (24 for 48) of their shots from the field, they did not take advantage of opportunities from the line or beyond the arc. The Cardinal were 14 for 20 from the free throw line and made 5 of 15 threes.
"We're still learning," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said about his team. The Cardinal only went to the line six times in the first half. "I don't think (it was) particularly anything they did (to keep Stanford off the foul line). We have to grow as a team. In the second half we made the adjustments and I think it was a different outcome for us. "
Fittingly, the game's biggest sequence was a three and a free throw. After Stanford had cut Pitt's lead to 11, Johnson hit a three from the left side of the court and was fouled by Randle. Johnson made the free throw to push Pitt's advantage to 70-55.
"It was difficult to overcome because it is a deflating play," Dawkins said. "Time wasn't on our side; every second was ticking off when you're down double digits. It's difficult to overcome."
Tuesday night's win marked the second time in five years Pittsburgh won the early-season tournament.
Patterson was named MVP of the tournament, and was on the all-tournament team. He was joined by Wright, Powell, Jaye Crockett of Texas Tech and TaShawn Thomas of Houston.
"He's a better player now than he was last year and probably a better player than he was a few weeks ago," Dixon said of Patterson. "He's always had skills - can pass and shoot. He's just a better athlete and in better shape right now. That comes from physical maturity and mental maturity. He's taken that challenge. We set a goal for him and he reached it. It's been a battle and he's gotten to it."