PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- With its first two major tests of the season looming, No. 15 Pittsburgh nearly got caught looking ahead.
The Panthers scored the final 10 points of the game and remained unbeaten with a 59-49 victory over Rutgers in a Big East Conference matchup.
Jaron Brown scored 19 points and freshman Chris Taft added a season-high 17 for Pittsburgh (18-0, 4-0 Big East), which has the longest winning streak in the nation and is 31-0 all time at the Petersen Events Center. The win extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 37 games.
"I try not to put much pressure on myself at all," said Brown, who made 8-of-15 shots. "I try to play and let the game come to me. Right now we're going to get focused on Connecticut. Everybody wanted to ask us about Connecticut but we had to play this game first."
The Panthers have not faced a ranked opponent and visit No. 1 Connecticut on Monday before a road game against defending national champion Syracuse next Saturday.
"We look forward to any game, although I'm sure there will be more buzz around this one," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. "If you're going to be good, you have to look forward to every game as a chance to prove yourself."
Rutgers (9-4, 1-3) did not score after freshman Quincy Douby sank a baseline jumper to make it 49-49 with 4:20 remaining.
Ricky Shields had 10 points and six rebounds for the Scarlet Knights, who had posted consecutive victories following a 75-74 setback to Connecticut on January 6.
"It was a hard-fought ballgame," Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. "I believe we outplayed them for 30 minutes."
Taft had 12 rebounds, including one on a missed jumper that he turned into a layup for a 51-49 edge with 3:52 remaining. A turnover by Rutgers led to a basket by Brown, giving Pitt a 53-49 lead with 2:57 left.
"Taft is an inside force, he comes out every night and plays," Panthers swingman Julius Page said. "It's bad when they know what he's going to do and they still can't stop him."
Chevy Troutman made 1-of-2 at the line and Brown nailed a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 57-49 advantage with two minutes left.
Adrian Hill had eight points and eight boards for Rutgers, which shot under 42 percent (19-of-46). Herve Lamizana was hindered by foul trouble in the second half and made just 3-of-12 shots. With Lamizana struggling, the Scarlet Knights were outscored in the paint, 32-18.
Taft had nine points and six rebounds in the first half, when the Panthers built a 30-24 lead.