Pitt wore down Marquette to win easily despite trailing early in the second half.
Marquette went on a 21-5 run to open the half, and held a 57-50 league. Pitt answered with a huge run, including two 3-pointers by reserve Gilbert Brown and a spectacular breakaway jam by Sam Young.
DeJuan Blair dominated the smaller Golden Eagles inside, hitting 7-10 shots en route to a 23 point, nine rebound performance. Pitt (27-3, 14-3) got 18 points from Sam Young and 17 points and 10 assists from Levance Fields. The Panthers shot 63 percent from the field in the game.
Jerel McNeal struggled shooting the ball again, finishing with 23 points in 8-24 from the field.
Marquette (23-7, 12-5) lost its third straight game without Dominic James. The Golden Eagles are limping into the Big East tournament and will likely be a #5 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Pitt hosts UConn on Saturday in a game that will help decide the Big East regular season champion. The game will also likely decide which team will earn a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Former Pitt point guard and current assistant coach Brandin Knight had his number retired before the game. Knight is Pitt’s all-time leader in both assists and steals.
I will always remember Knight clanking free throws during the NCAA tournament. He and ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb (a career 45% FT shooter) should have a free throw shooting contest for charity – the results would be painful.