PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pitt can't seem to convince Penn State to
renew a rivalry that once was one of the best in college football.
For now, the Panthers will have to be satisfied with dominating the
Nittany Lions in basketball.
Carl Krauser missed only two shots while scoring 20 points and
unranked Pittsburgh overwhelmed rival Penn State with its size and
quickness in a 91-54 rout Saturday, the Panthers' largest margin of
victory in the 145-game series.Pitt has won five in a row by an average margin of 26 points and
six of seven from the Nittany Lions. Previously, Pitt's most
one-sided victory was 30 points at 83-53 in 2000-01; Penn State had
a 40-point win by 84-44 in 1967.Pitt is 7-0 for the fourth consecutive season against a mostly
lightweight schedule, while Penn State fell to 4-3 despite 15
points from reserve walkon Cilk McSweeney.Penn State, smaller, slower and less athletic, didn't score
until nearly three minutes were gone and had only two baskets
during the first seven minutes."We got beat by a better basketball team in every facet," Penn
State coach Ed DeChellis said. "They were faster, stronger,
quicker. We had no answer for them. We need to do something to
build confidence with our younger kids. But there wasn't anything I
could say positive in the locker room."Krauser, who declared for the NBA draft last spring but later
chose to return for his senior season, was 4-of-5 from 3-point
range and missed two of 10 shots. He also had six assists and five
rebounds while turning the ball over twice, an improvement since
last season when his frequent turnovers contributed to a
late-season Pitt slump.Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has altered his offense with a younger
and quicker team than that which featured 6-10 Chris Taft and 6-7
Chevon Troutman last season. Those Panthers represented Pitt's
fourth NCAA tournament team in a row but regressed as the season
went along, and they finished 20-9 after winning 31 games the
season before.Now, rather than automatically setting up in a half-court
offense, Pitt is looking to score more on fast breaks."We're pushing the ball more and looking for good shots,"
Krauser said. "Why not get a good shot early if the shot is
there?"While Krauser constantly beat the Penn State defense up the
floor to get open jumpers or lob the ball inside, it was 7-foot
center Aaron Gray who presented the biggest matchup problems. Gray
had 10 points and 12 rebounds, establishing his inside presence
quickly as Pitt opened up leads of 7-0, 16-5 and 26-9."He's such a big kid, he's hard for our kids to get over,"
DeChellis said.And if the Nittany Lions had any delusion of getting into the
game, they probably didn't after 6-6 freshman Sam Young drove the
baseline and, rather than simply laying the ball in, dunked over
his head to make it 19-7 with 12:33 remaining in the first half.
After that, Penn State offered little resistance as Pitt went on to
build first-half leads of as many as 27 points."I kind of knew from the angle I took down the baseline that
they wouldn't challenge me, and I could probably get a reverse dunk
on that," said Young, who scored 11 points.John DeGroat also scored 11 points and Levon Kendall had 10 for
Pitt. Geary Claxton added 11 for Penn State, which has scored only
91 points in its last two visits to Pitt. The Panthers beat Penn
State 64-37 during the 2003-04 season.