Syracuse 62, Pittsburgh 57

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


NEW YORK -- It was an old-fashioned physical battle, the type of game that epitomized the rich history of the Big East Conference.
And when it ended, Syracuse was left standing with a 62-57 battle-scarred win over Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals of the tournament before an announced sellout crowd of 19,763.
The win sets up a marquee matchup of No. 19 Syracuse and No. 5 Georgetown in the semifinals Friday.
Syracuse (25-8) received 20 points from forward James Southerland, 13 points from C.J. Fair and 12 from Brandon Triche. No. 18 Pittsburgh (24-8) was led by Lamar Patterson's 14 points.
The two teams will take their rivalry to the ACC next season as part of an exodus from the 34-year-old conference.
Every loose ball was seemingly contested Wednesday afternoon. Open looks were as rare as a Jim Boeheim smile. Pittsburgh center Steven Adams had the scars to prove it -- two huge scratches on his right shoulder.
Southerland gave the Orange a 55-47 cushion with a 3-pointer with 5:33 to go, but Pittsburgh would cut that lead to one at 58-57 with 32 seconds left on a Talib Zanna layup. Zanna was fouled but failed to tie the score when his free throw attempt rimmed out.
Michael Carter-Williams grabbed the rebound and was promptly fouled. The sophomore guard sank both shots to give the Orange a 60-57 lead. On Pitt's next possession Carter stole the ball near mid court, was fouled again, and hit both shots to make it 62-57 with 10 seconds left.
The first-half lead changed nine teams, with Syracuse getting some breathing room when Fair drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Orange a 40-27 cushion.
Pittsburgh played catch-up after going ahead 14-12 with 9:58 left in the half. Syracuse erased the deficit by going on a 15-3 run to grab a 27-15 lead at the 4:58 mark. Triche led the charge with seven points and Southerland added six points on two of his five 3-pointers of the half.
Southerland was 5 of 5 from beyond the arc in the first half.
NOTES: Syracuse has posted winning Big East records in 32 of 34 seasons. ... The victory gives the Orange the most wins (77) in Big East Tournament history.