January 8, 2013; Washington, DC USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Talib Zanna (42) celebrates with forward Durand Johnson (5) in the closing seconds against the Georgetown Hoyas at Verizon Center. The Panthers won 73-45. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt Basketball: Panthers figure things out in rout of Georgetown

Well that was more like it.

After back-to-back disappointing losses to begin their final Big East Conference season, Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers came out with a sense of urgency we haven’t seen in a while.

January 8, 2013; Washington, DC USA; Pittsburgh Panthers center Steven Adams (13) shoots the ball as Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) defends in the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The end result was a performance unlike any other we have seen this season and an impressive 73-45 road win over No. 19 Georgetown.

Just when you thought it was safe to write the Panthers off, they got back to doing what they do best: playing strong defense.

Freshman center Steven Adams was a terror in the paint all night long, blocking a pair of shots and altering countless others as the Panthers held Georgetown to only 35 percent shooting, That came just one game after allowing a Rutgers team to shoot over 50 percent from the floor on Saturday.

Overall the Pitt defense forced 16 Georgetown turnovers and had no problems turning them into easy baskets.

When the Panthers weren’t playing great defense, their offense regained their shooting touch for the first time in a long stretch of struggles.

Talib Zanna led Pitt with 15 points as the Panthers shot 55 percent from the floor on the night.

Zanna went 7-for-9 from the field and Tray Woodall added 11 points and seven assists for the Panthers (13-3, 1-2), who dominated the Hoyas from the opening tip.

Pitt assisted on 11 of their first 15 field goals and cruised throughout.

One big difference between this effort and Pitt’s first two Big East losses was the fact that they made an effort to pound the ball inside, which ultimately led to wide-open looks from the perimeter.

The Panthers scored 18 points in the paint and made four of five 3-point attempts while building a 37-22 halftime lead.

Pitt didn’t slack off in the second half, pushing the lead higher and higher, scoring on several alley-oop passes in transition, as the Hoyas got sloppier and sloppier.

No Hoyas’ player scored in double figures, while all 10 Pitt players who played found their way into the scoring column.

While this is the Panthers final Big East season, they won’t just be saying goodbye to the conference, but goodbye to some long standing rivalries as well.

This was likely the final scheduled meeting between the two schools, although they could meet again in the Big East Tournament.

If it is the final Pitt-Georgetown game for a long while, the Panthers went out with a bang.

The 28-point victory was the largest ever for a Pitt team at Georgetown, eclipsing the 18 point win in 1997. In addition, the margin was Pitt’s second biggest road win in its Big East Conference history.

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Tags: Georgetown Hoyas Pittsburgh Panthers Basketball Steven Adams Talib Zanna Tray Woodall

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