PITTSBURGH -- Considering the depth on No. 3 Pittsburgh, Dante Taylor realizes he can't waste any minutes when he's in the game.
The sophomore forward scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, leading the Panthers to a 70-42 victory over Delaware State on Wednesday night.
Taylor played just 15 minutes as coach Jamie Dixon went to his bench early. J.J. Moore, another reserve, scored 10 points. Ashton Gibbs had nine points as 11 players scored for the Panthers, who used their size to outrebound the Hornets 41-18.
"I definitely feel like I have to make the most of it when I'm out there. That's what I was trying to do," Taylor said. "Guys on the bench, when we get in there, we want to get the ball right away, whether it's a rebound, assist, basket or a good defensive play."
Spelling center Gary McGhee, Taylor provided Pitt (10-0) a spark in the first half when he had nine points and seven rebounds in 8 minutes. Taylor's dunk snapped a 7-7 tie and started Pitt on a 13-0 run that led to a 34-19 halftime lead.
"I know I'm not going to be in there the whole game." Taylor said. "I have to do as much as I can while I'm out there."
Pitt has won 10 consecutive games to start the season for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. The Panthers have won 45 of their past 46 home games and are 82-1 against non-conference opponents at Petersen Events Center.
Despite not starting, Taylor has scored in double figures in three of his past four games.
"He's an improved player, and it's great to see his development," Dixon said. "He knows and feels like he is playing better and he's more comfortable out there. I don't know if the double-double will do any more for his confidence than what he's been doing in practice and in games this year. He had a good base last year, and he's building off it."
"This team is undoubtedly as good as advertised," said Delaware State coach Greg Jackson, whose team had lost road games by four points to La Salle and seven to South Carolina. "We've played a lot of good teams along the way. ... They are so talented at every position on the floor. It's hard to take any one thing away from them."
Pitt plays Tennessee (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) on Saturday at downtown Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center, which is considered a neutral site, in the SEC/Big East Invitational.
Taylor had nine points and seven rebounds in the first half as Pitt built a 34-19 lead by dominating the boards. Pitt's height advantage resulted in a 26-9 rebounding edge in the half when the Panthers took control after a sluggish opening five minutes.
Delaware State, whose tallest player is 6-foot-7, had no match for the 6-9 Taylor, 6-9 Talib Zanna and 6-11 McGhee.
The Hornets tied the score 7-7 about 4 minutes in but Delaware State missed its next 10 shots and shot 29.2 percent for the half. The drought enabled Pitt to take control with a 13-0 run over the next 8:45. The spurt began with a dunk by Taylor and featured several lay-ins and putbacks as Pitt dominated inside.
When Chad Wilson's 3-pointer pulled Delaware State within 23-16 with 3:44 left in the half, Dixon called a timeout. The Panthers regrouped and went on an 11-3 run to close the half.
"Top to bottom, across the board, they are head and shoulders above anybody that we'll play," Jackson said.
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|South Carolina State||12-4||1||19-15|
|North Carolina Central||7-9||6||13-19|
|North Carolina A&T||7-9||6||10-22|