After being tested against a hot shooting Rhode Island team on Monday, BIG EAST preseason favorite Pittsburgh cruised to a 97-54 win over Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday night as part of the 2k Sports Classic. The Panthers got off to a fast start, opening up an 18-point lead midway through the first half. Ashton Gibbs led the offensive charge with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting while dishing out seven assists. Brad Wanamaker followed up his 24-point effort against Rhode Island with 17 against the Flames to go with a game-high nine assists. Pitt has won 49 consecutive home games against nonconference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers host North Florida on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m., while ten BIG EAST teams open their seasons on Friday night.