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Pitt Basketball: Panthers Defeat Marquette, 89-81

Pitt's trademark defense wasn't there today, but the offense definitely was.

Ashton Gibbs led Pitt with 19 points and 5-8 shooting. The team shot 60% from the field and 55% from three-point range in defeating Marquette at home on Saturday, 89-81.

Pitt's story for Saturday, and for the season so far, for that matter, has been offense:

Although they have 15 more conference games to play, the Panthers are averaging 81.2 points overall and 83.3 points in the Big East -- the most during Dixon's eight seasons as coach.

Pitt has never averaged more than 78.5 points per game under Dixon and only once -- that DeJuan Blair and Sam Young team of 2008-09 -- has averaged more than 74.4 points.

"It's the balance of this team," Wanamaker said. "We have a lot of guys who can play and anybody can get going in a game. We play very unselfish, and that's why we're scoring points."

Dixon also talked about the scoring:

"Our numbers went up [ast year] in conference play, which never happens," Dixon said. "I think we're good offensively. Are we better than last year's team offensively? I think we can be. I think we're heading in that direction."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of coach-speak. The team is certainly better offensively than last year's squad - and they should be. Pitt lost only guard Jermaine Dixon and little-used Chase Adams this past year. Add a year of experience to everyone else and you get, voila, more points.

I still am having a hard time determining just how good this team might be. Yes they're 15-1. Yes they're putting a ton of points up. But the team doesn't have much road-game experience. Absurd as it sounds, if you take out the two Madison Square Garden tournament games (and you really have to because playing Texas there was more like a home game and playing Maryland was about a split crowd), Pitt has played exactly one road game this year. That's it. And in that game against Providence, the Panthers trailed in the final minute before coming back to win.

This team is still very good, but I think it's a bit premature to definitively say they're top five good,