Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Talib Zanna racked up 22 points on 9- of-10 shooting and No. 20 Pittsburgh dominated Clemson from start-to-finish en route to a 76-43 rout at Petersen Events Center.
The Panthers (17-2, 5-1 ACC) bounced back strongly from Saturday's tough 59-54 loss at No. 2 Syracuse, using a smothering defensive display and an efficient offensive attack to hand the Tigers their most lopsided loss of the season.
"There was no way I anticipated getting that margin of victory against a very good team who's been playing very good basketball and who coming in was one game out of first place. We played well on both sides. We defended well and the unselfishness was great," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said.
Lamar Patterson had 13 points and six assists and Cameron Wright chipped in 12 points for a Pittsburgh squad that shot a robust 56.3 percent from the floor. Josh Newkirk added 10 points off the bench.
Clemson (13-5, 4-2), on the other hand, went just 16-of-50 from the field and had a three-game win streak halted. Top scorer K.J. McDaniels, averaging 16.7 points per game coming in, managed just 11 on a 4-of-11 success rate.
"I am certainly disappointed with our effort tonight. We didn't play to a very good standard," Tigers head coach Brad Brownell said.
McDaniels hit a short jumper on the game's initial possession, but the Panthers scored the next 11 points to quickly put Clemson in a hole. Zanna tallied six points during the early run, which was aided by four turnovers by the Tigers.
Pittsburgh made good on six of its first eight shot attempts to open up a 20-8 lead 8 1/2 minutes in, and the margin grew to 14 points shortly after when Patterson sank two free throws on the heels of a Zanna dunk to give the Panthers a 24-10 advantage.
The Panthers kept pouring it on, with a James Robinson 3-pointer that was followed by two Zanna layups in transition increasing the differential to 35-18 with 2:41 left in the half. Pittsburgh was ahead by as many as 19 points prior to cruising into the break up by a comfortable 37-20 count.
Pitt put the game well out of reach before the midway stage of the second half, putting forth a 12-0 surge capped by back-to-back Zanna buckets that increased the lead to 54-24 with 11:58 remaining.
The Tigers went scoreless for more than seven minutes during the burst, misfiring on six shots and turning it over four more times.