Pitt sent home with loss to Syracuse in Big East quarterfinals
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 3:45 p.m.
NEW YORK — Just when Pitt solved its first-half struggles by playing more physical, shutting down James Southerland from beyond the arc and trimming a 13-point deficit to one, the Panthers encountered another problem.
They couldn't stop Michael Carter-Williams.
The Syracuse sophomore point guard sandwiched four free throws around a steal in the final 28.4 seconds to end Pitt's comeback hopes and lead the fifth-seeded Orange to a 62-59 victory over the fourth-seeded Panthers on Thursday in a Big East Tournament quarterfinal at Madison Square Garden.
It was a bittersweet exit from the Big East for the Panthers (24-8), who won 11 of their final 14 games to earn a double bye only to lose their first tourney game for the fourth time in five years. It was their final game in the Big East tourney, as both Pitt and Syracuse are leaving for the ACC in July.
The Panthers (24-8) await Selection Sunday and their certain at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament as they return to the Big Dance after missing last season for the first time in 11 years.
“We just didn't get it done in the first half,” said senior guard Tray Woodall, who had 12 points and three assists. “In the second half, I'm proud of my guys. We fought back but we fell short.”
Syracuse (25-8) advances to play Georgetown (25-5) in Friday's semifinals thanks to the hot shooting of Southerland. The 6-foot-8 senior swingman, who missed Pitt's 65-55 victory over Syracuse on Feb. 2 because of academic issues, scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the first half by making five 3-pointers.
“He was just unconscious,” Woodall said. “He wasn't missing a shot.”
Southerland was 6 of 6 from beyond the arc, setting a Big East tourney record for 3s without a miss. It also marked the most 3s made by a player against Pitt in the Big East tourney, and Syracuse's 12 treys were the most allowed by the Panthers this season.
“You turn your head for a second, and he's going off-screen. If you arrive late, he's 6-9 so he's going to shoot over you,” said Lamar Patterson, who led Pitt with 14 points and 11 rebounds. “He's not a typical guard.”
Syracuse used a 15-1 run to turn a 14-12 deficit into a 27-15 lead, as Brandon Triche made one trey and Southerland added two. The Panthers, meantime, went 5:33 between baskets.
Syracuse took a 40-27 lead into halftime. The second half saw Pitt dominate the boards, enjoying a plus-16 rebounding margin after being beaten, 18-14, in the first half. Pitt also limited Southerland to one 3-pointer, which gave the Orange a 55-47 lead with 5:31 remaining.
The Panthers made it a one-point game after Woodall got a three-point play when he drew a foul and a goaltending call on a breakaway layup and Talib Zanna scored on a put-back with 30.1 seconds left.
Zanna, however, missed the potential tying free throw.
Carter-Williams made two free throws to give the Orange a 60-57 cushion then stole a James Robinson pass intended for Woodall and drew another foul. Carter-Williams, who finished with 11 points, seven assists and three steals, made two more free throws with 10.7 seconds remaining before Patterson's tip in with 0.2 left.
“We outplayed them in the second half,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “We outhustled them, outrebounded them by a big number — 16, which speaks volumes about our team. ... But we've got to recognize what we did in the first half and what happened.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt to face MAC champ Bowling Green in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
- Pitt’s Dixon discusses local signees
- With Pitt men ahead, gauntlet continues for Loyola Marymount
- Pitt lineman Juantez Hollins happy he didn’t quit after struggles
- Pitt’s Donald named All-ACC 1st team; Boyd, Street 2nd-team selections
- Pitt still building after Chryst’s first 25 games
- Pitt’s Young, PSU’s Thorpe reunite in college