Pitt falls in final Big East Tournament appearance


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NEW YORK -- Syracuse was convinced James Southerland would make the difference the second time around against Pitt, and the 6-foot-8 forward answered the call.

Southerland, who missed Pitt's 65-55 victory at the Petersen Events Center in early February, was 6 for 6 from 3-point range and scored 20 to lead the Orange past the Panthers, 62-59, in the quarterfinal round of the Big East tournament.

Pitt was bounced from the tournament without winning a game for the fourth time in five years. The Panthers had a double-bye to the quarterfinal round four times and never won a game. The only victory in that span came last year when the Panthers had to play a preliminary round game and beat St. John's.

Pitt (24-8) will find out its opponent in the NCAA tournament Sunday.

Syracuse (25-8) advanced to the semifinals and will play No. 1 seed Georgetown at 7 p.m. Friday.

Syracuse led 40-27 at halftime. Pitt cut the lead to four after Tray Woodall drilled a 3-pointer to make it 47-43 with 8:38 remaining. Woodall's 3-pointer capped a 13-4 run.

On Syracuse's next possession, Michael Carter-Williams made his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer to restore some order.

However, Pitt did not go away. Talib Zanna scored on a layup to make it 55-51 with 4:07 remaining. With 1:15 to go, Woodall cut it to a 3-point lead with a three-point play.

Zanna had a chance to tie the score with 30 seconds left. He scored to make it 58-57 and was fouled, but he missed the free throw.

Carter-Williams was fouled and made both foul shots. Pitt failed to get a shot off on its next possession. James Robinson threw an errant pass that was intercepted by Carter-Williams. He made both foul shots again with 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Lamar Patterson scored with less than a second to go to make it a 3-point game.

Pitt led 14-12 midway through the first half after Patterson made a 3-pointer with 10:01 remaining, but Syracuse went on a 15-1 run to open up a 27-15 lead. The Orange made seven consecutive shots from the field. Brandon Triche scored all nine of his first-half points during the run.

Pitt came back to score 12 of the next 17 points and trimmed the lead to five after two James Robinson free throws, but Syracuse made three 3-pointers in the final three minutes of the half for its 13-point lead at the intermission.

Southerland, who scored 17 points in the first 20 minutes, made two of his five first-half 3-pointers in that stretch, and C.J. Fair made one at the buzzer when the Panthers had a foul to give.

Syracuse shot 53 percent from the field and 61.5 percent (8 for 13) from 3-point range.

The Panthers shot 35 percent and made 4 of 11 from behind the arc.

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Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published March 14, 2013 8:45 PM


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