The last time No. 20 Pitt faced the DePaul Blue Demons, the Panthers won one of the most lopsided games in their history in the Big East Conference, defeating DePaul by 38 points.
Saturday afternoon, while the margin wasn’t as big, the results were the same as Pitt closed out their chapter of Big East history with an 81-66 victory in their final Big East Conference regular season game ever.
Early on it looked like another rout was on hand as the Panthers scored the first nine points out of the gate before the Blue Demons went on a 13-2 run to get back in it for a while. But the Panthers had one of their better shooting days in program history, helping them cruise to the 15-point victory.
Pitt (24-7, 12-6) came out hot and knocked down an astounding 19 of their first 25 shots (76 percent) in the first half, taking a 46-35 lead into the locker room.
Despite an uncharacteristically sloppy second half, which almost as many turnovers as field goals made, Pitt didn’t cool off much in the final 20 minutes as they finished the game shooting a remarkable 71.7 percent (33-of-46) on the afternoon, which included draining 9-of-14 shots from behind the arc.
Forty of Pitt’s 81 points on the afternoon came from the bench, which was led by J.J. Moore who had a team-high 21 points. The junior forward made all eight shots he attempted from the floor, including a perfect 5-for-5 on three-point attempts.
In addition to Moore’s big afternoon, senior point guard Tray Woodall chipped in 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.
In one of the more remarkable stats that showed how good the Panthers were, the combination of Woodall and Dante Taylor (five) had as many rebounds as the entire DePaul (11-20, 2-16) team as the Panthers outrebounded the Blue Demons 26-12 on the afternoon. Pitt also assisted on 21 of their 33 made field goals, while DePaul had only nine assists the entire afternoon.
Pitt nearly let DePaul back in the game thanks to their 16 turnovers, but every time the Blue demons closed to within single digits, Pitt stepped up and made big timely shots.
The Blue Demons were led in scoring by Brandon Young, who finished with a game-high 22 points.
The Panthers win not only ends their Big East career on a good note, but has them in a good position to earn a double bye in next week’s Big East Conference Tournament. If Louisville defeats Notre Dame at home later this afternoon, Pitt will be the No. 4 seed thus giving them a double bye and a break until Thursday. If the Irish are victorious, the Panthers drop to the No. 5 seed, earning a single bye, starting tournament action on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.