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Pitt focusing on 3s against Boston College

| Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, 10:25 p.m.
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Boston College's Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan (right) celebrate after defeating Syracuse 62-59 in overtime Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Syracuse, N.Y.

Pitt's next opponent did something the Panthers twice failed to do this season: hand Syracuse its first loss.

What Boston College hasn't been able to accomplish, however, is put together consecutive victories in ACC play.

The Eagles followed their 62-59 overtime victory at Syracuse on Feb. 19 with a 27-point loss at Miami on Saturday, one that left Boston College coach Steve Donahue “extremely disappointed.”

“I'm more disappointed in myself that I wasn't able to get my team to do that,” Donahue said. “When we beat Syracuse, it's something that the guys can enjoy and all, but to me it's a regular-season game. I've been coaching for a long time, and I was very happy, but as soon as the buzzer sounded, I was thinking of Miami.”

As soon as Pitt (20-7, 8-6) lost to Florida State on Sunday, the Panthers started thinking about snapping their three-game losing streak when they meet Boston College (7-20, 3-11) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Conte Forum.

To do so, they will have to defend the perimeter.

“They're coming off a great win last week,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “Any team can get it going at any point in time during the year. We certainly are aware of that and know how good they played against Syracuse. We watched that Syracuse game and know they can make shots. Guarding the 3 is a concern. The 3 can obviously change games, and that's what they intend to do when they play.”

The Eagles rank second only to Duke in the ACC in 3-pointers (216) and 3-point field-goal percentage (35.4). Boston College made 11 of 22 3s against Syracuse, including two in overtime.

Seven Boston College players have made 13 or more 3s this season, led by guards Olivier Hanlan (51), Lonnie Jackson (48) and Joe Rahon (41). But forwards Eddie Odio and Ryan Anderson also have 3-point range, and the Eagles take treys on 45 percent of their field-goal attempts.

“It's all about the 3-point shot. If they make shots — make 3s — they can beat anybody,” Dixon said. “They shoot a lot of 3s. They've got five good shooters on the floor.”

Defending the arc has been a problem for the Panthers this season. Duke made 13 of 25 3-pointers in its 80-65 victory Jan. 27, and Virginia and Syracuse beat Pitt on last-second 3s. The Panthers rank eighth in the ACC in 3-point field-goal defense (32.9 percent).

“We're trying to get better at it. That's an area we can improve in,” Dixon said. “This team is different. They've got many people who can shoot the ball, one through five. We need to be conscious of a different (approach). Every guy is going to be a shooter.

“Not often are you preparing for that, but they'll have five guys on the floor that can shoot the 3, and that's unique.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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