PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh made it a threesome atop the West Division of the Big East Conference.
Ontario Lett scored 13 points to lead a balanced attack as the ninth-ranked Panthers moved into a three-way tie for first place with an 86-65 rout of overmatched Rutgers.
Pittsburgh (19-4, 9-3 Big East West) is tied with Syracuse and Notre Dame for the division lead. The Panthers limited the Scarlet Knights to 14 points in the first half, effectively turning the final 20 minutes into an organized scrimmage.
"The defense in the first half was outstanding," Panthers coach Ben Howland said. "I couldn't ask for more. I'm happy with the defense in the first 25 minutes of the game It set the tone."
Back-to-back baskets by Lett capped a 15-4 run to open a 44-18 cushion early in the second half.
The Panthers won their 20th straight home game, improving to 14-0 at the brand-new Petersen Center. It was their 12th straight Big East home victory.
Rutgers (11-13, 3-9) lost its sixth straight road game and fell into last place in the division. The Scarlet Knights are one game behind Georgetown, and only the top six teams in each division qualify for the conference tournament.
"It was a very bad game," Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. "One of the worst I have ever seen or been a part of."
Jaron Brown scored 12 points and Julius Page and freshman Carl Krauser each added 11 points as Pittsburgh placed five players in double figures. Chevy Troutman netted 10 points as the Panthers did not need a big effort from star player Brandin Knight.
Knight, who scored 23 points in Tuesday's win at Georgetown, had only six points. But the lack of cohesion on offense by Rutgers - which committed 18 turnovers - made it a laugher early.
"We just played our game," Knight said. "They are an up-and-down, fast-paced team. They force turnovers, but we forced most of the turnovers tonight."
The defensive effort by Pitt was characterized by Page's effort on Jerome Coleman, who averages more than 17 points per game but did not score.
In the first half, the Knights had just five baskets.
"We did a great job defensively," Lett said.
Pitt shot 51 percent (29-of-57) as Lett and Brown combined to make 10-of-14 shots. The Panthers drilled seven 3-pointers in the second half.
Calvin Wooten came off the bench to score 21 points and Herve Lamizana added 17 for Rutgers, which shot 36 percent (22-of-61).
"We need to make some changes," Waters said. "This game was embarrassing. I am going to sit down, look at this game and make some decisions. That is why I am the head coach. A game like this will not happen again."