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Georgetown boots Pitt from Big East Tournament

| Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NEW YORK — Senior guard Ashton Gibbs sat in his locker at Madison Square Garden this afternoon and shouldered the blame for the Panthers' disappointing season.

"I did a bad job of leading this year, and it clearly showed," he said. "It's something I didn't live up to. I had high expectations of the team and high expectations of myself, as well, and it's something I didn't live up to as a senior leader."

No. 13 seed Pitt lost to fifth-seeded Georgetown, 64-52, in the second round of the Big East Tournament.

"We played like a bunch of little boys out there," said Lamar Patterson, who had nine points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Pitt (17-16) led for the first 17 minutes of the game, before Georgetown (23-7) went on a 16-2 run over the final 6:26 of the first half to take the lead for good.

"They were more physical than us," senior forward Nasir Robinson said. "They out-toughed us."

Pitt, which has lost 15 of its past 21 games, will see its 10-year run of reaching the NCAA Tournament — the seventh longest streak in the nation — come to a screeching halt. The Panthers, who beat St. John's in the first round, could get a bid to the National Invitational Tournament when its 32-team field is announced on Sunday night.

"It's been a nice streak and something that I guess only a few schools have done more," coach Jamie Dixon said. "But right now, it's all about this game and how we feel after this. I just felt we were going to play better."

Gibbs scored 14 points for Pitt, while shooting 4 of 12 from the field. No other Pitt player scored in double figures.

"Played well last night," Dixon said. "Didn't play as well today."

Henry Sims had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Otto Porter added 20 for the Hoyas, who will advance into a quarterfinal game with No. 4 seed Cincinnati (22-9) on Thursday.

The Panthers, which had beat Georgetown in five of their previous six meetings, couldn't duplicate its 72-60 victory over the then-No. 9 Hoyas in late January.

Pitt, which shot 52 percent in the first meeting, was held to 36.7 percent from the field, including 5 of 21 from 3-point range. Pitt had a season-low 25 rebounds and grabbed only three offensive rebounds in the second half. Pitt outrebounded Georgetown, 35-23, in their first meeting.

"That was a major focus, protecting the paint this game because last time they had layups and dunks for almost all of their points," Sims said. "So we made sure we held that to a minimum today."

Pitt scored the first six points of the second half to cut Georgetown's lead to 31-29, but the Hoyas got back-to-back 3-pointers from Greg Whittington and Porter to push the edge back to 37-29.

A Gibbs 3-pointer made it 38-34 but Porter scored consecutive baskets for a 42-34 lead and Pitt never got closer than six points the rest of the way.

Pitt led 21-15 on Nasir Robinson's layup with 6:40 to play in the first half, but Georgetown ended the first half on a 16-2 run to take a 31-23 lead into the locker room.

Sims, a 6-10 senior center, had 11 points and eight rebounds in the first half while having his way with Pitt's big men.

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