ACC newcomer Pitt throws its weight around

– Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has spent most of the past two years convincing Durand Johnson, the perpetually energetic guard, that he doesn’t have to score to make an impact.

Maybe, but the rapidly maturing Panthers are more dangerous when he does.

Johnson poured in a career-high 17 points and Pitt raced by Maryland 79-59 on Monday night. The sophomore added three assists, three rebounds and two steals as the Panthers’ first home game as a member of the ACC looked an awful lot like the ones they used to play while spending the past decade as one of the best programs in the Big East.

“I can’t see a lot of teams coming in and beating them in this building,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “But it’s been that way for years.”

Lamar Patterson led Pitt (14-1, 2-0) with 19 points as the Panthers shot 53 percent from the field and pulled away with relative ease in the second half.

“We want to be a 40-minute team,” Patterson said. “Teams that can’t run and stay with us, that’s good for us.”

Seth Allen led Maryland (10-6, 2-1) with 18 points but the Terrapins struggled to keep pace with Pitt, which has quickly made itself at home in its new conference digs after moving over from the Big East this fall.



• RECORD-SETTING ASSISTS: The small Iowa school that produced 138-point scorer Jack Taylor has set another NCAA record. Division III Grinnell College player Patrick Maher broke the NCAA record with 37 assists Monday night in a 164-144 victory over College of Faith. Maher broke the record of 34 set by Grinnell assistant head coach David N. Arseneault back in 2007. Maher also had 19 points to help the Pioneers improve to 8-2. Taylor put Grinnell on the national map with 138 points against Faith Baptist Bible on Nov. 20, 2012. Taylor didn’t play Monday night because of a lower back injury.

• IOWA COACH APOLOGIZES: Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has apologized for an outburst that got him ejected from Sunday’s loss to No. 4 Wisconsin. McCaffery was called for back-to-back technical fouls and tossed from the game for arguing with officials with 12 minutes left. The Badgers rallied for a 75-71 victory. McCaffery said in a statement that he’s sorry for his emotional reaction. Athletic director Gary Barta said he has already met with McCaffery and that McCaffery “knows he crossed a line of acceptable behavior.” Barta also says that McCaffery has his full support moving forward

• DROPPING DUKIES: For the first time since December 2007, Duke is not in the top 10 of the Associated Press college basketball poll. The Blue Devils (11-3) dropped from seventh to No. 16 on Monday, following their 79-77 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday.

• GUSTIES, MAC SPLIT: The Gustavus men (8-3, 5-1 MIAC) went on a 25-0 second-half run to rally past Macalester 75-61 in St. Paul. The Macalester women (2-7, 1-5), however, triumphed 57-55 in St. Peter, Minn., on Veronika Jakubovie’s layup with 21 seconds left.