BIG EAST conference play began last night with a battle of top-10 teams, as No. 6/6 Pittsburgh (13-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) defeated No. 4/4 Connecticut (10-1, 0-1 BIG EAST) 78-63 on Monday night. The Panthers stifled the Huskies with pressure defense, allowing UConn to shoot just 31.7 percent from the floor (19-of-60) despite being outrebounded in the contest. Kemba Walker was the lone Husky to notch double figures, as the nation’s leading scorer dropped 31 points but hit on only 10-of-27 field goal attempts and 3-of-11 from 3-point range. The team had only six assists on 19 field goals in the game. Freshman Jeremy Lamb had nine points and eight rebounds.
A balanced attack led the Panthers to the victory as four players scored in double figures with Ashton Gibbs leading the way with 21 points. Nasir Robinson and Gary McGhee each recorded double-doubles, as Robinson had 11 points and 10 rebounds while McGhee had 11 points and 11 boards. The Panthers improved to 8-0 against top5 teams at the Petersen Events Center and 142-11 overall. Pitt has won four-straight over the Huskies. The Panthers surged to a 16-7 lead in the game and led by no more than six points for the rest of the contest.
No. 22/20 Louisville (11-1) cruised to a 104-74 win over Morgan State, marking the second-straight game the Cardinals have eclipsed the 100-point mark after scoring 114 against Western Kentucky. Preston Knowles scored a career-high 31 points and Kyle Kuric added 25 to lead the UofL offense that shot 59 percent from the field. As a team, the Cardinals hit 17-of-23 shots from 3-point range with four players hitting at-least two from behind the arc. Knowles capped a dominant first half with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Louisville its biggest lead of the half at 58-28.
Conference play continues with six teams playing their BIG EAST openers on Tuesday night. Cincinnati puts its unbeaten record on the line against DePaul while Seton Hall hosts USF. Both of those matchups will be at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com. No. 5/5 Syracuse opens BIG EAST play at the Carrier Dome against Providence in a game that will be on ESPNU at 9 p.m. ET. Rutgers has a nonconference date at Madison Square Garden against North Carolina on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.