Pittsburgh Panthers Team Report

Nothing good lasts forever. Pittsburgh was just hoping that its run would last a little bit longer.<br><br> Instead, the Panthers lost for the first time ever at the Peterson Events Center falling 49-46 to Syracuse in overtime on Feb. 29. It's the first loss in the past 40 games for the Pittsburgh at home.

More critically, it puts the Panthers in a more precarious position in its fight for a No. 1 seed. With two No. 1s solidly in the hands of Stanford and St. Joseph's, and Duke on track to get the other, the Panthers are in a crowded pack seeking a coveted slot atop the bracket. Before the loss, they looked to be in relatively good shape to secure one.

However, the Panthers are now in a three-way tie for first place in the Big East, and face a critical road test against co-leader Providence on Tuesday. Had Pittsburgh beaten Syracuse, it could have lost to Providence and still finished with a share of the Big East regular-season title with a win over Villanova on Saturday.

Now, a loss to the Friars drops Pitt to third in the league, and it means Pittsburgh would need to win the conference tournament to have any chance at all at a No. 1.

Panthers Notes

  • Not surprisingly from a team that scored 46 points in 45 minutes, Pittsburgh's loss to Syracuse marked its worst shooting day of the season. The Panthers were 30.9 percent from the field, 3 for 16 from three-point range, and 9 for 17 at the line. In the second half and overtime, the Panthers managed just one three-pointer in nine attempts, and made 7 of 13 free throws.
  • No Pitt player made it into double figures in the scoring column. Chris Taft and Carl Krauser led the way with nine points.
  • Probable Lineup: Guard Carl Krauser, guard Julius Page, forward Chris Taft, forward Chevon Troutman, forward Jaron Brown

Upcoming Games: March 2 at Providence, March 6 vs. Villanova
The Panthers need to regroup and play the same tenacious team defense they did against Syracuse, since Providence is a deep team with a multitude of offensive weapons. But what Pittsburgh really has to do is stop giving away points at the offensive end, whether it's by missed free throws, turnovers, or blown layups.

In the first meeting this season between Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Chevon Troutman, Chris Taft and Mark McConnell combined for 42 of the Panthers 66 points. In the rematch on Feb. 29, they managed just 21.

Quote to Note
"We'd like to win every game, but sometimes it just doesn't go your way. The effort was there. I think the rebounding speaks for itself. We did what we wanted to do there. We did a good job on the defensive end. We just didn't seem to make the big plays." -- Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.

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