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Pitt blasts Rutgers, earns No. 2 seed

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Five players scored in double figures, as No. 17 Pitt closed out the regular season with an 83-54 rout over Rutgers this afternoon at Petersen Events Center.
The victory, combined with West Virginia’s overtime victory at Villanova, gives Pitt (24-7, 13-5 Big East) the No. 2 seed for next week’s Big East Tournament.
The Panthers (24-7, 13-5), who receive a double-bye into the quarterfinals, will open against either No. 7 seed Notre Dame, No. 10 Seton Hall or No. 15 Rutgers/Providence at 7 p.m. Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Two days after Pitt needed a buzzer-beater from Ashton Gibbs to defeat Providence, the Panthers left nothing to chance against Rutgers (15-16, 5-13).
Guard Jermaine Dixon missed all but one minute of the second half after sustaining a sore right foot in the first half. It is the same foot that Dixon broke twice during the off-season, but Pitt officials don’t believe it is serious.
Gilbert Brown, after being held scoreless in the victory over Providence two days ago, scored a game-high 19 points for Pitt. Ashton Gibbs (13), Brad Wanamaker (12), Dante Taylor (11) and Dixon (10) also scored in double figures for the Panthers, who used a 15-0 first-half run to take control.
Sophomore guard Mike Rosario paced Rutgers with 14 points.
Pitt led 40-16 at halftime and pulled away by as many as 32 points in the second half for its most lopsided victory of the year. Pitt outrebounded Rutgers, 41-26, and held the Scarlet Knights to 27.3 percent from the field in the first half.
Coach Jamie Dixon went with reserves for most of the final 10 minutes of Senior Night, including seldom-used senior walk-on Tim Frye, who entered with 4:34 to play amid pleas for “We want Tim,” from the crowd.
Pitt, which has won eight of its past nine games, finishes the season at 17-1 at home. The Panthers are 38-1 in their past 39 home games.

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