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Pitt notebook: Panthers' depth wears down Syracuse

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 7:06 p.m.

Maybe Syracuse's players didn't get tired Saturday when Pitt turned a close game into a 65-55 victory at Petersen Events Center.

“No, I don't think so at all,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

“Nah,” said senior guard Brandon Triche, who played 33 minutes and missed 7 of 9 shots in the second half.

“I'm used to this,” said junior forward C.J. Fair, who has played every minute (165) in each of the past four games, including an overtime loss at Villanova.

But the facts are these:

Pitt used 10 players, with no one on the court for more than 30 minutes, and everyone scored.

Meanwhile, Syracuse received three points from its bench (to Pitt's 31) and totaled nine rebounds in the second half.

“It's tough,” Triche said. “They keep rotating and bringing guys in with energy. With them rotating in and being able to play tough defense kind of messed us up today.”

Out of his element

Boeheim insisted “seven or eight players is enough,” but he said 6-foot-7, 190-pound freshman Jerami Grant struggled while playing 40 minutes in his first career start.

“He's just a little too thin for these guys,” Boeheim said. “He is just not physical enough yet in this league. He wouldn't be playing in this league if he didn't have to.”

Grant, who missed 7 of 8 shots, was forced to go the distance, in part because James Southerland is ineligible and DaJuan Coleman is hurt (knee).

“I am definitely a little undersized to be down there banging,” Grant said, “but I'll put on weight as much as I can in the offseason.”

Paid back with pizza

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and director of operations Brian Regan delivered pizza and Gatorade to more than 100 members of the Oakland Zoo who slept in Petersen Events Center on Friday night to assure prime seats.

“The Zoo is unbelievable,” Dixon said. “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Guard Tray Woodall said players were impressed by the fans' dedication.

“We were excited last night, knowing that they were here sleeping in the gym,” he said. “A lot of guys probably wanted to sleep in the gym, also.”

Wright man for the job

Center Steven Adams was forced to come out in the second half when he was fouled going up for a shot. That gave Boeheim the liberty to pick the Pitt player he wanted to shoot.

The Hall of Fame coach chose Cam Wright, who came into the game as a 47.6-percent foul shooter (10 of 21). Wright hit both foul shots.

“I had a feeling he was going to pick me,” Wright said. “But we practice free throws so much day in and day out, I was confident.

“I was actually happy that he did pick me — a couple extra points.”

ACC/Consol bid nixed

Consol Energy Center will not be considered to host the ACC Tournament from 2016-21. Officials for the arena had submitted a bid to host the annual tournament, but they didn't make the cut.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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