Tampa, FL (KDKA/AP) – Nasir Robinson and Ashton Gibbs led the Pitt Panthers to a share of the Big East title on Wednesday night with a 66-50 victory over the South Florida Bulls.
Robinson scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Gibbs added 16 points with 3 assists and two rebounds.
“It’s the toughest conference in the country, and we’re the champs of it. That’s a pretty good accomplishment,” coach Jamie Dixon said.
It’s a conference that’s going to have 11 NCAA bids, we believe. Nobody has been champion of a conference with 11 NCAA bids,” Dixon added. “It’s a first-time thing. … That puts it in perspective right there. You’ve got to beat a lot of good people, and no one’s had to beat as many good people as we’ve had to in any conference before.”
The Panthers (26-4, 14-3) bounced back from an overtime loss at Louisville to set a school record with their seventh conference road win. They can claim the regular-season crown outright by beating No. 19 Villanova at home Saturday, or if second-place Notre Dame loses its finale at Connecticut.
South Florida (9-21, 3-14) led 27-24 at halftime, limiting Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker to just three points apiece.
The first half lead didn’t last long as the Panthers went on a 25-7 run in the opening minutes of the second half and it never got close again.
Gilbert Brown added 10 points, Gary McGhee added 9 and Wanamaker scored 7 points on eight attempts from the field.
The win on Wednesday night set a record for head coach Jamie Dixon. In his first eight years as head coach, Dixon has won 214 games which set a NCAA Division I record for most victories in the first eight seasons of a career.
He passes Everett Case at North Carolina State and Roy Williams at Kansas for the record.