The Pittsburgh Panthers (12-2, 2-0) continued their dominance at the Carrier Dome as Ashton Gibbs scored 24 points and Jermaine Dixon added 21 points to lead Pittsburgh to an 82-72 victory over the previously unbeaten No.5 Syracuse Orange (13-1).
Trailing 30-27 after the first half, Pitt went on a 14-3 run in the second half and jumped out to a 60-47 lead as the Panthers outscored Syracuse 55-42 in the second half.
Pitt opens up the Big East season 2-0.
Through 14 games, Ashton Gibbs has established himself as Pitt’s go-to-player, scoring double digit points in 12 of 14 games and back-to-back games with 20+ points.
Gibbs led the way for the Panthers offensively but also added 8 rebounds and was 6-for-9 from three point range.
Dixon played a complete game scoring 21 points and had a team high 5 steals. Pitt was aggressive on defense and on the boards.
The emergence of Gibbs along with the return of Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown has Pitt looking like a team on the rise in the Big East.
However, the most encouraging sign of today’s win was the performance of freshman Dante Taylor. Taylor had his most consistent game of the season on both sides of the floor, scoring 10 points and adding 8 rebounds.
The development of Taylor’s offensive game will tell the story of how good Pitt will be this season. Taylor, regarded as a 5-star recruit is off to a slow start offensively but has been a force at times in the defensive zone.