The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

December 5, 2012

Panthers cruise to City Game victory

PITTSBURGH — Tray Woodall scored 24 points and Pittsburgh won its 12th straight City Game with a 66-45 romp over Duquesne on Wednesday night.

Lamar Patterson added 13 points and freshman center Steven Adams had eight points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for the Panthers (8-1), who pulled away after a sluggish start to continue their dominance over their crosstown rivals.

Pitt has now won 31 of the last 34 meetings between the schools separated by just two miles, and its current 12-game run is the longest by either program since the series began in 1932.

Sean Johnson led Duquesne (4-4) with 13 points but the Dukes shot just 31 percent (18 of 57) from the field and were never in it once Pitt got rolling midway through the first half.

The Panthers have won four straight overall by an average of 21 points. They had little issue against Duquesne in a game that showcased just how deep the chasm between the two schools has become.

Pitt wore down the smaller, younger Dukes with its depth and some excellent outside shooting. The Panthers made 9 of 17 3-pointers, including five by Woodall and three by Patterson. Adams meanwhile, showcased the active hands that made him one of the most hotly recruited big men in the country last winter. He dominated the glass with nine offensive rebounds, allowing Pitt to extend possession and while helping the Panthers hold a 19-3 edge in second-chance points.

The Dukes are rebuilding under first-year coach Jim Ferry after a massive player exodus led to coach Ron Everhart’s ouster last spring. Duquense has seven freshman and sophomores in its rotation and was picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10.

Still, Ferry believed the Dukes could compete with the Panthers if they pushed the pace and made shots.

They did neither during an abysmal first half.

Johnson actually drilled a 3-pointer on Duquesne’s first possession but the Dukes wouldn’t score again for six minutes, clanging nine straight shots. Still, Pitt wasn’t much better and a conventional three-point play tied the game at 15 before the Panthers finally got going behind Woodall.

The senior suffered an abdominal injury in last year’s City Game that changed the course of Pitt’s season. He missed most of the next month and the Panthers never recovered and failed to make the NCAA tournament field for the first time in more than a decade.

Woodall is healthy now, and so is Pitt. He scored eight straight points over the final 4 minutes of the first half as the Panthers used a 14-2 run to take control and continue their mastery in a rivalry that remains heavily one-sided.

Pitt took a 29-17 lead into the half and the Dukes never got within single digits the rest of the way. Whenever they would try to make it interesting, Woodall would knock down a jumper. By the end, the Pitt student section was chanting “this is our house” at Consol Energy Center, a neutral site that is a couple of long 3-pointers from the Duquesne campus.

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