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Pitt knocks off St. John's in first round of Big East Conference Tournament

| Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NEW YORK — Pitt gets another chance to make Georgetown its biggest win of the season.

No. 13 seed Pitt (17-15) will play the fifth-seeded Hoyas at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the second round of the Big East Tournament, what could be another step for the Panthers toward salvaging a lost season.

"We're still around," coach Jamie Dixon said, "and we're getting better."

Pitt beat St. John's, 73-59, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden for its first Big East Tournament win since 2008. Today, the Panthers hope to maintain their success against the Hoyas.

The Panthers topped then-No. 9 Georgetown, 72-60, on Jan. 28 at Petersen Events Center as part of a four-game winning streak, the high point of a 5-13 conference season.

"I'm sure they are going to remember that we beat them and they are going to come out hard, just like St. John's did," point guard Tray Woodall said. "We've just got to be ready for them."

Georgetown (22-7), which received a first-round bye, is 6-3 since losing to Pitt. That includes a 14-point win over Connecticut, a 30-point win against South Florida, a 21-point win over Villanova and an 18-point victory against Notre Dame. All of those wins were at home, and the losses came on the road — at Syracuse, Seton Hall and Marquette.

"They are a very experienced team," Dixon said. "They are very patient and skilled."

In the first game against Georgetown, Nasir Robinson scored a season-high 23 points, making all nine of his field-goal attempts. Lamar Patterson scored a career-high 18 points and added seven assists. Georgetown's top scorer, Jason Clark, made three baskets in 38 minutes to finish with nine points, going 0 for 5 from 3-point range.

Pitt, which never trailed, had assists on 20 of its 25 baskets. The Panthers, who are 5-1 in their past six games against Georgetown, shot 52 percent and outrebounded the Hoyas, 35-23.

"In (rebounding and defense), we were awful," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said after that game. "They got everything they wanted and, when they didn't, they got the rebound. And that's the difference."

Yesterday, Ashton Gibbs scored 20 points and Robinson added 15 points and eight rebounds as Pitt beat No. 12 seed St. John's (13-19) for the second time in less than a week. The seniors had been 0-3 in the Big East Tournament.

"I've been wanting this for years," Gibbs said. "We've just got to try to keep it going."

Said Robinson: "We came out today and got this win. We played defense and shared the ball."

Trailing, 26-20, Pitt scored 13 of the next 15 points to take a 33-28 lead at halftime. Gibbs scored seven consecutive points during the run, which ended with Robinson's alley-oop dunk 13 seconds before halftime.

"I tell our guys that I believe our best basketball is in our next game here," Dixon said. "We did some good things (against St. John's). I think we can be a better team (against Georgetown), and I believe that's what you want to be."

Panthers gameday

Big East Tournament second round

Pitt vs. Georgetown

approx. 2:30 p.m. today, Madison Square Garden, New York

@gameday-text:TV/radio: ESPN/KDKA-FM (93.7), Pitt Radio Network

Records: Pitt 17-15, Georgetown 22-7

Series: Georgetown leads, 40-35

Line: Georgetown by 3

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