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Pitt suffers its first blemish in the Big East

| Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010

The surprising Pitt Panthers did something else Wednesday night that you don't usually see.

They lost at The Pete.

No. 12 Georgetown handed Pitt a rare home loss, pulling away for a 74-66 victory over the No. 9 Panthers at Petersen Events Center.

"We got what we deserved," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "You've got to win games with defense; we lost it with our defense."

Pitt dropped to 125-11 all-time at the Pete and saw its home winning streak snapped at 31 games in a row. It was the second longest in the nation, dating to a loss to Louisville in 2007. Only Kansas (52 wins) has a longer streak.

The No. 9 Panthers (15-3, 5-1) had won eight in a row and were trying for their first 6-0 start in the conference. The loss drops Pitt into a second-place tie with Syracuse, one-half game behind Villanova.

The setback comes after Pitt negotiated a treacherous streak of ranked teams to climb to the top of the Big East and an unexpected trip to the AP Top 10.

"I think we feel good about the wins, but tonight's loss took a toll," said Pitt junior forward Gilbert Brown, who scored 20 points. "We are going to bounce back."

Junior guard Chris Wright scored a game-high 27 points for Georgetown (14-3, 5-2) including a back-breaking layup as the shot clock expired off an inbounds pass for a 68-60 lead with 1:13 to play.

"Chris made plays," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Tonight just happened to be Chris' night."

Pitt sophomore Ashton Gibbs went 3 of 16 from the field and finished with eight points, matching his season low. Pitt was 4 for 18 from behind the arc, as Georgetown snapped a three-game losing streak to the Panthers.

Brown was 8 of 9 from the field; Brad Wanamaker added nine points, a career-high 13 rebounds and seven assists; and Jermaine Dixon had 14 points for Pitt, which plays at Seton Hall on Sunday.

The Panthers had no answer for Wright, who shot 11 of 17 from the field. Wright scored five points during a pivotal second-half, 9-0 run that put Georgetown ahead to stay, starting with a 3-pointer off a timeout and a driving layup for a 63-58 Hoyas lead with five minutes to play

"He's fast," Pitt's Jermaine Dixon said of Wright. "He's a quick guy, and when somebody can shoot the 3 as well as he can and drive the basket and finish over 6-10 guys, it's definitely hard to guard someone like that."

Sophomore center Greg Monroe posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Pitt led, 56-54, on Jermaine Dixon's 3-pointer with 7:28 to play, but Pitt managed only one field goal over the next six-plus minutes, as Georgetown went on a 14-4 run.

The score was tied, 31-31, at halftime as both teams shot 42 percent from the field.

Gibbs made only 2 of 9 from the field in the first half, but Pitt committed only three turnovers — against 11 assists — and erased an early eight-point deficit.

Georgetown used an early 19-5 run to build a 19-11 lead with about 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Pitt cut it to 19-17 on Travon Woodall's layup with 8:45 to play in the first half, but Austin Freeman, held scoreless in the opening 11:36, hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 34-second span to stake the Hoyas to a 25-17 lead.

Gibbs, held scoreless for the first 13 minutes, made two 3-pointers and assisted on a Nasir Robinson layup, while Gary McGhee had two of his three first-half dunks as part of a 10-2 run that tied the game at 29-all with 3:42 to play in the first half.

"We still got a long way to go," Jermaine Dixon said. "We've got a lot of games left. We were looking forward to going undefeated, but you don't have a night off. One loss doesn't mean anything."

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