Orange Lose Second Straight; Fall To Pitt

The No. 8 Pittsburgh Panthers (19-1, 5-1) bullied No. 13 Syracuse (13-3, 3-2) in a 66-45 victory Saturday night at the Carrier Dome. It was the lowest scoring game for Syracuse in the 24 years they've played at the Carrier Dome. It was also their worst defeat since they lost at Kansas, 71-41, in 1968.<br><br>

"Mentally we weren't fit," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim at the post-game press conference. "It gets more physical after this and I'm disappointed how we've handled these games (Pitt and Seton Hall) as far as physical play."

The inside tandem of starting freshmen forward Chris Taft and junior forward Mark McCarroll, off the bench, scored 15 points a piece to lead the way for Pitt.

Sophomore point guard Carl Krauser had a big game for Pitt doing the little things. He scored just five points on 2-of-9 shooting, but registered 10 rebounds and eight assists.

"We feel we should be 20-0, not 19-1," Taft said after the game. "We took the loss (at No. 4 UCONN) and bounced back."

Pitt bounced back hard. The game was close throughout the first half, despite Pitt having 13 offensive rebounds, because they failed to convert open lay-ups, and shot just 32.4 percent from the field.

The teams went into the locker room at halftime with Pitt leading 29-23. The lead never dwindled.

The Panthers shot 59.3 percent in the second half, and used an 11-2 run to extend the lead to 50-32 with 10:35 remaining. From there the lead grew thanks to Syracuse's awful shooting.

The Orangemen shot just 27.3 percent from the field and 11-for-25 (44 percent) from the free throw line.

Syracuse's big guards, Billy Edelin and Josh Pace, combined for just nine points against Pitt's physical man-to-man defense.

Pitt, on the other hand, had no problem picking apart Syracuse's zone, going off for 40 points in the paint, compared to Syracuse's 18.

Hakim Warrick led the way for the Orangemen with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds, but struggled early shooting just 2-for-7 in the first half.

Gerry McNamara scored just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, after not practicing all week due to a groin pull suffered against Seton Hall.

McNamara wouldn't comment on his injury after the game.

Boeheim and his players said they'd use this loss as a learning experience and begin preparing for the next battle.

"We know for now on it's war," Pace said. "We got to be more physical than we were tonight."

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