South Region Notebook: Long careers end for two seniors

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- A 61-45 loss to Florida Saturday marked the final time Pitt seniors Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson played for the Panthers.

Both players have been in the program for five years and both have been a huge part of the team's success, though neither was in the mood to discuss their legacies in the locker room after the game.

"I'm not disappointed with our season but I am disappointed in how it ended," Patterson said. "As for [how I want to be remembered by Pitt fans], I don't know, just a guy with an all-around game I guess. [Our] career was long, but now that it is over, I felt like it wasn't long enough."

Zanna said, "[Patterson and I] have been through a lot since freshman year. I just want to thank the University of Pittsburgh for everything and for being in our corner."

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said that if you put a checklist together of what it is you want from your senior class, Zanna and Patterson would have completed their charts and then some.

"You hope guys get better, they did, you hope guys graduate, they did, you hope they play in a lot of games and win a lot of games, they did," Dixon said. "And you hope they represent your university in a positive manner and at the end of the day they have done a lot of things right for our university and people respect them and recognize them as true student-athletes."

Opponents, again

Two people in attendance who have had a few battles against each other over the years were Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who sported a Pitt shirt, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was wearing Florida gear.

Tomlin's interest in the game is easy to understand given the Pittsburgh connection, but Belichick is friends with Florida coach Billy Donovan.

"Well, [Belichick] put in the scouting report today," Donovan said, then smiled. "Coach has been great to me. I went to Boston and met with him maybe after their third Super Bowl and we have developed a very, very good relationship.

Buzzer-beaters

The Panthers finished 26-9 and their 26 wins were the eighth most in school history. ... Pitt is 24-26 in NCAA tournament games and Dixon fell to 12-10 in the tournament. ... The Panthers are 3-4 in the NCAA tournament since their previous trip to the Sweet 16 in 2009. ... Pitt fell to 2-16 against No.1-ranked teams. ... This was just the fourth time this season the Panthers were held to fewer than 50 points. ... Zanna had 10 points, his 55th career double-figure scoring game.

Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com and Twitter @paulzeise.


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