PITTSBURGH (AP) Trey Zeigler scored a season-high 18 points and Pittsburgh crushed DePaul 93-55 on Saturday night for its fourth straight victory.
Lamar Patterson added 15 points, Steven Adams added nine points and a season-high 14 rebounds for the Panthers (17-4, 5-3 Big East), who climbed into a tie for third in the muddled Big East after dominating the reeling Blue Demons.
The 38-point margin of victory was the highest ever by Pitt in a Big East game, eclipsing a 36-point romp over West Virginia in 2003.
Brandon Young led DePaul (10-9, 1-5) with 13 points and Moses Morgan chipped in 11, but the Blue Demons were never in it while losing for the sixth time in seven games. DePaul shot just 27 percent (18 of 65) and was outrebounded 58-34 while suffering its worst loss in nearly two years.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was concerned about how his team would handle DePaul's full-court pressure and early on the Blue Demons were able to rattle the Panthers into uncharacteristic mistakes. Pitt came in leading the country in assist/turnover ratio but threw it away six times in the first 10 minutes.
That allowed DePaul to hang around, but only for a bit. Once the Panthers settled down, they were able to get wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Woodall and Patterson led a 23-5 push midway through the first half to take control.
The Blue Demons simply couldn't keep up. If they weren't missing shots - DePaul went just 9 of 33 (27 percent) from the floor in the first half - then they were giving the ball away in transition or getting dominated on the glass.
Pitt's size and ability to stay under control once it got comfortable playing at the up-tempo pace the Blue Demons prefer eventually made DePaul's defense ineffective.
The result was a 53-30 halftime lead, the Panthers' highest scoring half of the season. The 23-point edge tied for the second-largest halftime advantage ever by the Panthers against a Big East rival, a record that would have been broken if Morgan hadn't hit a high arcing 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of the 7-foot Adams at the horn.
While Pitt has struggled at times putting two solid halves together this season, there were no such issues against the overmatched Blue Demons. Pitt scored three quick buckets to open the second half, allowing the Panthers to look ahead to the most pivotal week of the season.
Pitt plays at No. 5 Louisville on Monday and hosts No. 3 Syracuse next Saturday.
The mismatch allowed Dixon to experiment with his lineup in the second half. Pitt's bench actually outscored its starters 52-41, with Zeigler leading the way. The junior transfer from Central Michigan is starting to settle into his new role coming off the bench. He knocked down 7 of 12 shots and added five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.