MU to face Pitt

NEW YORK – The 2008 Big East Tournament has proven once again to be one of toughness and perseverance, as the outsized and undermanned No. 7 seed Pitt Panthers knocked off the No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals, 76-69 in overtime of the quarterfinals.

NEW YORK – The 2008 Big East Tournament has proven once again to be one of toughness and perseverance, as the outsized and undermanned No. 7 seed Pitt Panthers knocked off the No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals, 76-69 in overtime of the quarterfinals.

The boys from the "Steel City" were paced by the Big East's most improved player, Sam Young. The junior forward led all scorers and tallied the sixth double-double of his career, with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Levance Fields continued to drive through his injury struggles, finishing with 13 points and 6 assists.

"I don't think anybody really knew what to make of our team with all the injuries," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon. "This is a team that had to change in midstream three, four times in what they were doing. We're finding ourselves, and I think we're on our way."

The Panthers also received strong efforts from DeJuan Blair, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Levance Fields, who tallied 13 points and six assists.

Pitt dominated the overtime session, outscoring the Cards 12-2. To add to Louisville's disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals, Pitt has now knocked them out of the conference tournament for the third time in as many years.

The Panthers will now meet their old nemesis, Marquette, on Friday night, with tip off set for 8:30 CDT at Madison Square Garden. The Golden Eagles put at number on the Panthers back on February 21, when they rolled, 72-54 at the Bradley Center.

But, Tom Crean understands that this Pitt team is no longer the same one they saw that night.

"We understand it's a different team," said Crean. "I hope we're a different team. But we know that they pose tremendous challenges because of their ability to rebound the ball, to play physical on defense, and be and outstanding offensive team."

Pittsburgh advances to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament for the third consecutive year. They won those two semifinal contests, advancing to the championship game twice, but never taking home the trophy.


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