Men’s basketball: Pitt beats Duquesne 80-66

By Alex Oltmanns

Last year’s City Game took a Pitt comeback and double overtime to seal the victory for the… Last year’s City Game took a Pitt comeback and double overtime to seal the victory for the Panthers.

But this year, in the 79th edition of the rivalry, Panthers center Gary McGhee made sure that didn’t happen again.

McGhee tied a career high in points with 12 and set a career high in both rebounds, with 13, and blocks, with seven, as the No. 3 Panthers beat Duquesne 80-66 Wednesday night in the first-ever college basketball game at the Consol Energy Center.

McGhee was too much for the Dukes down low from the very beginning, throwing down two emphatic dunks in the first four minutes to make his presence felt right away.

“It feels really good to get the win against one of our most rivaled teams,” McGhee said in a post-game press conference. “It definitely feels good that it felt like I dominated in the defensive zone.”

“He did a good job of just finding the ball in the right times in the right areas,” teammate Ashton Gibbs said.McGhee, along with the rest of the Pitt frontcourt, dominated Duquesne (3-2) down low, outrebounding a much smaller Duquesne team 56-35.

“I think we had the size advantage tonight, so I felt I should be really strong on the boards,” McGhee said.

Duquesne players agreed.

“I think we were in there game-wise, but when it came to rebounding, their size just overpowered ours,” Duquesne forward Damian Saunders said. “Guys like Gary McGhee and Dante Taylor are just taller and we can’t move them out.”

“It’s a little frustrating, because we knew they were going to try to beat us on the glass,” Duquesne forward Bill Clark said. “I feel like that was a majority of the reason why we lost.”

Pitt forward Nasir Robinson added a double-double off the bench with 14 points and a career high 12 rebounds as guard Gibbs led the Panthers (8-0) in scoring with 22 points.

“I like coming out and playing physical and playing my game,” Robinson said. “It doesn’t really matter who we play.”

Saunders and Clark led Duquesne in scoring with 20 points each. Summers added 11 rebounds as well.

Pitt will return to action Saturday against Rider University at the Petersen Events Center.

The Panthers will play again at the Consol Energy Center Dec. 11 when they face No. 17 Tennessee as part of the SEC/Big East Invitational.

“The crowd was terrific, the student sections were great. The facilities were outstanding,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “You’re talking December, and you just don’t see atmospheres like that in December in college basketball.”