BOSTON (Ticker) -- Dereck Whittenburg's latest NCAA Tournament experience was a far cry from his most memorable one.
Donatas Zavackas scored 16 points as second-seeded Pittsburgh handed Whittenburg and No. 15 Wagner an 87-61 drubbing in the first round of the Midwest Region.
The fiery Whittenburg is best known for his part in North Carolina State's 1983 title team. Whittenburg, the only coach in the field to play for a national champion, threw up the airball that Lorenzo Charles slammed home for the winning basket.
Wagner (21-11) showed plenty of fighting spirit early and was within 33-27 after a free throw by Jermaine Hall with 2:45 to go in the first half. Page made a jumper and freshman Carl Krauser added a 3-pointer and the Panthers went into halftime with a 40-29 cushion.
Krauser had a three-point play and a 3-pointer in a 15-3 spurt for a 55-32 bulge at the 16:28 mark.
"I thought our defense, to start the second half, really keyed us breaking it open big there," Panthers coach Ben Howland said. "We played very good defense, we made some nice passes, got some wide-open looks and never looked back."
"What I respect about them today is that they did not take us for granted," Whittenburg said.
The Panthers face Indiana in Sunday's second round.
Krauser scored nine of his 12 points in the second half and Jaron Brown added 11. Point guard Brandin Knight contributed 10 points for Pittsburgh, which had just one player log more than 30 minutes.
"I think we're just very aggressive," Knight said. "We get out and defend passes. We try to defend the open looks and contest every shot. Once the shot goes up, we block out. Those are things that we do for 40 minutes and I don't think there's another team that pays that close attention to detail when it comes to defending and rebounding."
The Panthers finished with 22 assists and held a 32-27 edge on the glass. Zavackas' six rebounds led the team.
There was not much hope for Wagner before the game. Pittsburgh entered with a nine-game winning streak and was 56-0 against opponents from the Northeast Conference. "We definitely had a size advantage and we tried to exploit it today," Zavackas said. "We were just so much bigger than they were."
But the underdog Seahawks recovered after yielding the first six points. Wagner took an 8-6 lead on a 3-pointer by Dedrick Dye with 16:33 remaining in the first half.
Pittsburgh took control with a 17-6 tear that Zavackas capped with a 3-pointer for a nine-point edge at the 8:16 mark. Wagner stayed close until the Panthers' spurt right before halftime.
"In the first half, I thought we had chances to stay in the game," Whittenburg said. "We had some shots, a little too many turnovers. Some of our perimeter guys were intimidated in the beginning."
One of the best defensive teams in the country, Pittsburgh came up with 14 steals. Chevy Troutman had four and Krauser and Ontario Lett each added three.
The Panthers shot a healthy 56 percent (33-of-59), including 11-of-17 shooting from the bench. The lone negative was the foul shooting by Pitt, the worst team in the Big East in that department. It was 12-of-21 from the line.
Hall scored 17 points and Dye added 15 for Wagner, which committed 19 turnovers that led to 21 points for Pitt. Nigel Wyatte grabbed nine rebounds.
"We won the league for the first time this year and it was our first berth in the NCAA for Wagner College," Dye said. "It is good for the exposure and everything, but at the same time, it's disappointing."
The Seahawks fell to 9-60 all-time against Big East foes.