Duquesne players felt they were more ready than ever to face Pitt, but it seemed Pitt followed Anson's advice of not overlooking them.
Pitt came out extremely aggressive in the first half. Pitt was hitting everything, and simply not letting Duquesne score. Duquesne guard Micah Mason was essentially completely shut down by James Robinson in the first half. Robinson, as Duquesne coach Jim Ferry put it, "guarded the hell out of him". Pitt started the game going 30-12 and set the tone very early.
Sterling Smith had a fantastic night with a double double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Yup, a shooting guard had 11 rebounds. He defended really well as well, and has great length. He's the type of shooting guard Pitt has needed the last couple of years, and I could see him doing well going forward.
Mike Young turned in another ho-hum double double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Young is now averaging 18 points a game to go along with 9.1 rebounds per game. He's having a really great year, and virtually no one outside of Pitt is talking about him. It's not just the competition as Young had a double double against Purdue as well. He's putting in great performances every night. This is his third game scoring 20 points or more.
James Robinson continues to have a really good year as well. Duquesne guard Micah Mason commented that Robinson looked more aggressive than ever in film, and said Robinson was simply "on fire" tonight. He put on 18 points with 8 assists, and 0 turnovers. He currently has a 7.75 assist to turnover ratio. That's insane. His four turnovers against Purdue were the only turnovers he's had all year.
Rafael Maia seems to be getting a bit better the more he plays. I know conditioning is a bit of a concern with him, but he's putting in a ton of effort on the floor and it shows. He had a good outing against Purdue, and was better tonight as well. I'll be curious to see if he remains in the spot after he was named a starter before the game.
Overall, Pitt executed very well on both ends of the floor. The game was not even as close as the score indicates. Duquesne is a pretty decent team, but they made some bad mistakes fundamentally. I think like everyone, I'd love to see Pitt play a solid Power 5 team. They've played their normal out of conference cupcake games, had the Gonzaga game thrown out, and played a good top 15 Purdue team. Unfortunately, Pitt won't play a merely "good" Power 5 team until conference play starts. I like the potential of the team a lot, but it remains to be seen how well they can gel together as the year goes on.