PITTSBURGH – Brad Wanamaker scored 19 points and led a first-half surge in which No. 6 Pittsburgh held American to a lone basket for 10 minutes, and the Panthers won 61-46 on Wednesday night for their 200th victory under coach Jamie Dixon.
Dixon, in his eighth season, reached the mark in his 255th game, faster than all but 11 other coaches in NCAA history. Clair Bee of Rider and Long Island accomplished it in a record 231 games during the 1930s.
Only two other coaches, Mark Few of Gonzaga and Roy Williams of Kansas, also made it to 200 victories in their eighth season — reflecting, in part, the numbers of games schools now play. Pitt has won fewer than 25 games only once since Dixon replaced Ben Howland as coach in 2003.
Gilbert Brown, coming off a 28-point game against Maryland-Eastern Shore, added 15 points as the Panthers wrapped up their non-conference schedule — and in a game that was much closer than they probably expected.
Pitt, which came in averaging 82.3 points per game, had been held to fewer than 70 points only once, a 68-66 victory over Texas at Madison Square Garden.
Vlad Moldoveanu scored 23 points for American (7-5), which played its second ranked opponent this season. The Eagles lost to then-No. 18 Florida 67-48 on Dec. 5.
American led 12-10 with 13:11 remaining in the first half. But the Panthers went on a 15-2 run keyed by Wanamaker's seven points over the next 10 minutes to make it 27-14, and they looked to be pulling away from a team that struggled to beat Mount St. Mary's 69-64 on Monday.
But with the 6-foot-9 Moldoveanu repeatedly shooting over Pitt defenders, the Eagles went on a 9-1 run to start the second half and were within 42-35 following Troy Brewer's 3-pointer with 13:35 remaining.
The Eagles, decidedly smaller than Pitt, used their quickness to frustrate the Panthers at times defensively and forced them into missing their first six shots of the second half. Pitt also made only 13 of 25 free throws and shot 40 percent overall (22 of 55).
Pittsburgh finally began building its lead against the Patriot League favorites when Wanamaker hit a jumper and a free throw and Ashton Gibbs and Brown each made 3-pointers during a 9-0 run that made it 56-39. Gibbs scored 10 points but shot only 4 of 14.
The Panthers won their 56th consecutive non-conference game at the Petersen Events Center, where they play No. 4 Connecticut in their Big East opener on Monday night.
Dante Taylor had seven rebounds as Pitt held a 41-24 edge on the boards.