No. 3 Pitt muscles past No. 11 Georgetown, 70-54
WASHINGTON — DeJuan Blair knew that he was not the main focus of the two dozen or so NBA scouts or the national television audience. The featured attraction was supposed to be college basketball’s latest flavor-of-the-month, Georgetown freshman Greg Monroe.
In the second half, however, it was Blair who was thumping his chest while chants of “Let’s Go, Pitt!” came from the thousands of upper-deck fans who made the trip to the nation’s capital. Blair and the No. 3 Panthers were muscling their way to a 70-54 win Saturday over the No. 11 Hoyas, ending Georgetown’s 29-game home winning streak.
“I played with something on my back saying, ‘They’re picking this young cat against me, and I’m not going to take it,”’ Blair said. “I was always an underdog throughout my whole life. I think I showed a lot of people.”
Blair had 20 points and 17 rebounds, and the Panthers (14-0, 2-0 Big East) never trailed as they dominated the Hoyas on the boards, in the paint and with their depth.
Rebounds: 46-21. Points in the paint: 48-22. Bench scoring: 14-2. Needless to say, those questions about the Panthers’ early schedule—this was their first game against a ranked team—are now firmly put to rest.
“They were saying, ‘Who did Pitt play?”’ Blair said. “We came into Georgetown and showed them what we can do. They can’t say nothing now.”
Tyrell Biggs and Sam Young added 14 points apiece for the Panthers, who shot 53 percent in the second half in a rematch of the last two Big East tournament championship games. Levance Fields had eight turnovers and no assists, raising his ratio to an astounding 91-to-19 on the season.
DaJuan Summers finished with 22 points for Georgetown, single-handedly keeping the Hoyas close until a 17-4 Pittsburgh run midway through the second half.
Monroe added a quiet 15 for the Hoyas (10-2, 1-1), who were dealt a sobering reality check five days after their road upset of No. 2 Connecticut. Monroe’s 4-inch height advantage meant little against Blair’s grit and determination.
“He’s real strong,” Monroe said. “He’s definitely knows how to use his strength, his width.”
Predictably, Georgetown coach John Thompson III downplayed the magnitude of the loss in much the same manner in which he refused to buy into the euphoria over the UConn win. After all, there’s a road game at No. 7 Notre Dame on Monday.
“We have no turnaround,” Thompson said. “We leave tomorrow morning for South Bend. You can’t dwell on that too long. We’re a very good team, but we just had a very difficult stretch from that 14-minute mark where they did a good job of executing and we didn’t.”
Monroe set the tone in both halves. He won the opening tip, scored the game’s first points with a hook shot, then picked off a pass and made the score 4-0 with a layup. In the second half, he scored Pittsburgh’s first seven points, including a hook shot against a triple team after losing the ball and recovering it in the paint. Immediately after that play, he blocked Monroe’s shot at the other end.
In the decisive run later in the second half, Blair—who played only eight minutes against Rutgers because of foul trouble—dunked home a feed from Fields with 7:47 remaining to make the score 55-44, the first double-digit lead of the game.
“We joked with him the last couple of days that he was going to be well-rested,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “He had a lot of legs, and he was ready to go. “