Pitt Panthers Crush UConn!

The Panthers beat the Huskies 74-56 to win the school's first-ever Big East tournament. This marked the 3rd year in a row the Panthers made it to the championship game, and this time they came away with the victory.

Jaron Brown finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds and out-rebounded UConn's star player Emeka Okafor by three rebounds despite giving up five inches in height to him. Brandin Knight added 16 points and 6 assists with a fantastic floor game while playing on an injured ankle. Brandin was named to the first team All-Big East Tournament team. Tournament MVP Julius Page added 16 points and played an outstanding overall game. His defense last night was one of the key reasons the Panthers got to cut the nets down for the first time in school history.

Another gutsy performance was turned in by Chevon Troutman. He scored 12 points on an ankle that was so tender his status was in doubt up to the pre-game warm-ups.

This win was made even more amazing considering the Panthers beat a talented Husky team while two of their biggest stars (Knight and Troutman) were at much less than 100%, with their ankle injuries.

The game was tight at half time, with Pitt holding on to a 36-35 lead, but they turned it up another level in the second half. Pitt's defense, which has been its bread and butter all season, held the Huskies to 32% shooting in the second half. The key stat of the game was Pitt out-rebounding the Huskies 36 to 28. The Panthers showed that they wanted it more as Brown, Lett, Troutman, and even Page took turns grabbing key rebounds. They also played their usual unselfish brand of basketball and totaled 16 assists compared to 10 for the Huskies.

What can you say about coach Howland? In just his 4th year as head coach at Pitt, he has taken the Panthers to the Big East Tournament title game an amazing three times!

Now that 20 years of Big East Tournament futility has come to an end, Pitt will take its 26-4 record into the NCAA Tournament to see how much more they can add to this already history-making and record-setting season.

--- Brian Gold

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