No. 17 Pittsburgh 68, No. 9 Syracuse 64
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—Carl Krauser and the Pittsburgh Panthers have Syracuse’s number—at least for now.
Krauser hit three 3-pointers in the final 7 minutes against No. 9 Syracuse to help the No. 17 Panthers overcome an eight-point deficit in a 68-64 victory Monday night.
“I think it was written that we were supposed to win this game,” said Krauser, whose 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Pitt a 64-60 lead with 47 seconds left. “We had to come in here and get a win. It was about sticking together. We’re going to go a long way and we’ll sneak up on some people.”
That’s not likely anymore.
In the last three weeks, the Panthers have beaten the last two national champions on the road, also winning 76-66 at Connecticut. Suddenly, that shocking home loss to Bucknell in early January and another to Georgetown three days later seem all but forgotten.
“People think because we have a couple of tough losses that we aren’t any good anymore,” said Chevon Troutman, who scored 16 of his 20 points from the free-throw line, including four in the final minute. “But we’ve been good for a long time.”
In the first meeting of the teams just over two weeks ago, Syracuse raced to a 22-5 lead midway through the first half and seemed poised for a lopsided road victory. Krauser had other ideas. Held scoreless for 23 minutes, he scored 19 points in the second half and the Panthers won 76-69.
Pittsburgh (18-4, 8-3 Big East) has won seven of the last nine games against Syracuse (22-4, 9-3), which last season handed the Panthers their first-ever loss in the Petersen Events Center after 40 straight wins.
Gerry McNamara was the hero in that one for the Orange, scoring five points in overtime as Syracuse won 49-46. On Monday, McNamara had the game in his hands again with just over a minute to play and it slipped away. His 3-point attempt from the right corner went in and out with Pitt ahead by one point.
“If I make that shot, we’re in pretty good shape,” said McNamara, who had 16 points and 10 assists but missed 10 3-point attempts. “We shouldn’t be losing these games at home. We’re supposed to win them. It shouldn’t have come down to the end. We should have put them away.”
Krauser made sure of that 22 seconds later.
“It was one of those games you just want everything to go right in crunch time,” said Krauser, who scored 15 points. “I was real happy that things did go right because we battled back from hard adversity being here in the Carrier Dome. Honestly, I didn’t even know where I was when I shot the ball.”
Pittsburgh won for the sixth time in seven games and completed a season sweep of the Orange, who were coming off their best game of the season, a 90-75 win at No. 25 Villanova on Saturday. The Panthers shut down Hakim Warrick, who was called for three fouls in the first 16 minutes, matched his season-low with 12 points and had a season-low three rebounds. And Josh Pace, who had 21 points against the Wildcats, played 33 minutes, took only two shots and failed to score.
“I let the team down,” said Warrick, who was unable to get the crowd or his teammates charged up with one of his resounding dunks. “The shots just didn’t go down for us. We got some good looks those last couple of minutes, but they went in and out. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Pitt’s comeback was impressive because it came very late and in the not-so-friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, where Syracuse has been nearly invincible in the past year. Connecticut broke the Orange’s 16-game home winning streak a week ago and Pitt made it two straight losses.
“We didn’t give Warrick any angles to work off of,” said Troutman, who had 10 rebounds. “Syracuse doesn’t finish games like we do when we play tough down the stretch. We’re a physical team, and we’re getting back to that.”
Louie McCroskey, who lost his starting job two games ago, scored a career-high 18 points for the Orange and center Craig Forth had 10 rebounds.
After Krauser’s three-point play pulled the Panthers to 48-47 midway through the second half, Syracuse went on a 9-2 run. A steal and layup by McNamara put Syracuse up 57-49 with 7:45 left.
Then Krauser and Troutman spoiled the evening.
“It was bittersweet having my best game and not getting the win,” said McCroskey, who missed a wide-open 3-point attempt with the score tied at 60 and failed to convert a baseline drive seconds later. “You live and learn.”