It was Pitt's ninth victory in the last 11 games against the Orange. Senior guard Tray Woodall had 13 points to lead Pitt (18-5, 6-4 in the Big East), which has won five of its last six games. C.J. Fair scored 20 for Syracuse (18-3, 6-2), which has lost two in a row. Syracuse fell to 1-4 in games played at the Petersen Events Center, with the only victory coming in overtime in February of 2004. "People always talk about the record," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "That's cyclical. I looked in record books. We were 62-38 against them. We won 10 in a row at one point. Now they're winning. "Those things happen. They've won the most games in the league over the past 11 years. They've beaten everybody." Pitt was able to win this game because of its dominance on the backboards. The Panthers out-rebounded Syracuse, 39-24. Fifteen of those were offensive rebounds, with six coming from power forward Talib Zanna. The Panthers had only six second-chance points, but were able to keep the Syracuse offense in check by winning second and third possessions and thereby limiting the number of times Syracuse, the top scoring team in the league, had the ball. "I'm real excited about the rebounding," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "We did a great job on the glass. I told our guys we had to out-rebound them by 10. Then yesterday I said 15. That says a lot about our guys." Syracuse, playing its first game in a week after suffering its first Big East loss of the season at Villanova, had a hard time generating offense against Pitt, which allows the fewest points per game in the conference. Playing its fifth consecutive game without second-leading scorer James Southerland and its first without injured starter DaJuan Coleman, Boeheim utilized a seven-man rotation against the Panthers, using only Trevor Cooney and Baye Moussa Keita off the bench. Fair was 9-for-13 from the field, but everyone else struggled against the defensive-minded Panthers. Leading scorer Brandon Triche was 4-for-14, Michael Carter-Williams was 3-for-12, and freshman forward Jerami Grant, making his first start in place of Coleman, was 1-for-8. "Our inside guys aren't ready yet," Boeheim said. "We can't go to Jerami or Baye. They won't be a factor offensively. (Grant) is a little too thin for these guys. He's not physical enough yet. He wouldn't be playing in this league if he didn't have to. He's not ready for this type of game. "Our three perimeter guys have to be good offensively and they weren't. We had an uncharacteristically bad game. We need those three guys to play well." Pitt led, 27-25, at halftime and the Panthers built a 33-27 lead when Trey Zeigler made a runner from the lane. That prompted Boeheim to call a timeout, which settled his team. The Orange scored eight of the next 10 points to tie the score, 35-35. The Panthers, however, gathered themselves and made some big shots down the stretch. Cam Wright made a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down for a 38-35 lead and the Panthers would never trail again. It was only the sixth 3-pointer Wright had taken all season. "Cam is confident," Woodall said. "We see it every day in practice that he can hit shots. He definitely hit a big shot. That was a big play. That was the turning point in the game. We didn't want to give the lead up there." A few minutes later, reserve forward Durand Johnson made a 3-pointer for a 48-39 lead, the biggest lead for either team at that point. After Syracuse cut the lead to five on four free throws from Triche, Pitt freshman center Steve Adams was fouled. Adams, a 32 percent foul shooter, could not take the free throws because he was hit in the eye. Wright, a 48 percent foul shooter, took them instead and made both for a 52-45 lead with 4:06 remaining. He had been 0-for-4 from the line in Big East play. "They're the best team we've played this year, without question," Boeheim said. "It's not even close." NOTES: Pitt has a 13-1 record against teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll at the Petersen Events Center. ... Pitt's bench outscored Syracuse's bench, 31-3. ... Pitt committed a season-high 20 turnovers. ... Syracuse freshman forward Jerami Grant made his first career start. ... Syracuse's only victory at the Petersen Events Center came in February of 2004.
- Sports & Recreation
- Petersen Events Center