Pittsburgh beats Davidson 94-69 in Gotham Classic
NEW YORK (AP) Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon stressed one word over and over after his Panthers beat Davidson 94-69 on Sunday in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden.
''They all played really well but they were all unselfish,'' he said. ''The defense was sound against a very good offensive team, but it was just the unselfishness we showed that made the difference. I don't know how many assists we had but were very unselfish.'''
For the record, the Panthers had 21 assists on 36 field goals and they did have good ball movement throughout. They also played some impressive defense and dominated the rebounding.
Michael Young scored 22 points for the Panthers (9-1), who got off to a sluggish start, but once they started defending and took advantage of their size inside, they pulled away for their fifth straight win.
''We felt with our size and skill down low we would be able to dominate down low,'' said Young, one of five Pittsburgh players who had at least five rebounds. ''I knew our team defense would get the job done. We tried to start with our defense and rebounding first and then we just play our game.''
James Robinson added 15 points for Pittsburgh, which finished with a 52-31 rebound advantage and led by as many as 28 points.
Jack Gibbs, who came in second in the nation with a 25.3-point average, had 21 points for Davidson (7-2), while Peyton Aldridge added 19. Gibbs was 8 for 20 from the field including missing all six 3-point attempts.
''We got away from doing what got us the lead, helping each other,'' Gibbs said. ''If we are going to beat teams that are stronger and faster we have to help each other.
''They did a good job pressuring everybody and defended the ball really well.''
Davidson led 29-23 when Pittsburgh went on a 23-4 run to take control. The Panthers held the Wildcats scoreless for 4 minutes in taking charge, often turning turnovers into easy baskets. Sterling Smith had two 3-pointers in the run including the one that closed it and made it 46-33 with 2:02 left in the first half. Pittsburgh led 50-38 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same for the Panthers, who shot 55 percent (36 for 66) from the field.
''They're a bigger team than us, stronger and more athletic,''' Aldridge said. ''They eventually wore us down.''
The Wildcats finished well below the 86.1 points they were averaging coming into the game. Davidson finished 6 for 30 from 3-point range including making just two of 19 in the second half.
''The magical world of Madison Square Garden wasn't magical for our shooting or defense,'' Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. ''Pittsburgh caused that magic to disappear. They just wore us down and we could never get back into the game.''
LONG TIME: This was the sixth all-time meeting between the schools and Pittsburgh leads 4-2. It was the first time they met since Jan. 9, 1974, a 90-63 Pitt victory at the Charlotte Coliseum.
GOOD LOSSES: Both teams entered the game with one loss and they were to ranked teams. Pittsburgh lost to No. 9 Purdue; Davidson lost to No. 11 North Carolina.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers entered the game with a record of 45-45 at Madison Square Garden. ... Young, a junior forward who came in averaging 17.4 points per game, was selected Most Outstanding Player.
Davidson: The Wildcats entered the game with a record of 5-3 at Madison Square Garden. ... Since 1979 only Gibbs and one other player have had 40-point games for Davidson. Gibbs has done it once and Stephen Curry did it six times.
Pittsburgh hosts Western Carolina on Wednesday.
Davidson hosts Morehead State on Wednesday.