Marquette knocks off No. 6 Pitt
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
PITTSBURGH — Dominic James made two free throws after being fouled with less than a second remaining in overtime and No. 24 Marquette rallied after squandering an 11-point lead to surprise No. 6 Pittsburgh 77-74 on Sunday.
James scored 23 points and Dan Fitzgerald and Wesley Matthews had 14 each as the Golden Eagles (17-4, 4-2) improved to 4-1 against Top 25 teams and dealt Pitt (17-3, 5-1) only its second home court loss in 30 games the last two seasons.
Ronald Ramon scored 21 points and 7-footer Aaron Gray had 16 points and nine rebounds despite sitting out the final 3 minutes of regulation, when Pitt surged back after trailing 60-51 following Fitzgerald's two 3s. Marquette led 48-37 earlier in the half.
The Panthers, who had never led or been tied since holding a 10-9 lead, sent it to overtime on Ramon's two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining but still fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season. Pitt had been the last team unbeaten in Big East play.
Gray returned to score Pitt's first five points of overtime, and the Panthers led as late as 74-73 after Levon Kendall made two free throws with 1:35 remaining.
But Kendall's pass was stolen on Pitt's next possession and James, after searching frantically for an open lane to the basket for nearly 10 seconds, was fouled with three defenders around him with nine-tenths of a second remaining and made both foul shots. Matthews made two more free throws after being fouled on Pitt's inbounds play.
With Pitt down by nine, coach Jamie Dixon took Gray out with 3 minutes to play to put a quicker team on the floor. The move worked as the Panthers outscored Marquette 13-4 the rest of the second half to tie it on Ramon's free throws after James appeared to strip the ball from him.
Before that, Marquette quieted a loud, enthusiastic Pitt crowd by going on an 11-0 run over a five-minute span of the first half to seize an 18-10 lead, causing some fans to throw giveaway towels on the floor to protest several fouls they felt weren't called on Marquette.
James started the run with a drive through the lane, ended it with a 3-pointer and followed with another 3 to make it 21-12 after Kendall scored. James has scored 56 points as the Golden Eagles have won two of three from Pitt the last two seasons. The teams meet again March 3 in Milwaukee.
Gray scored six of the Panthers' first 10 points, only to become ineffective for long stretches after that as the Panthers had trouble getting the ball inside against Marquette's quick defenders. Pitt had 14 turnovers midway through the second half and finished with 18.
Gray started despite missing two days of practice with a wrist injury, apparently not serious, that occurred in a shootaround before he had 22 points and 19 rebounds Tuesday in a 63-54 decision over Connecticut.
Pitt went 5-of-18 from 3-point range (27.8 percent) despite Ramon's 4-for-6 day after entering the game shooting 46.3 percent beyond the arc in conference play. The Panthers had been 12-0 at home.
NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 82, SOUTH FLORIDA 58
Rob Kurz had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Colin Falls added 14 points to lead host Notre Dame over South Florida, the 14th straight home win this season for the Fighting Irish.
The Bulls kept it close early, leading by as many as five points about eight minutes in. But Notre Dame (16-3, 4-2 Big East) ended the first half on a 21-2 run, holding South Florida without a basket for the final nine minutes of the half to open a 42-26 lead at intermission.
The Bulls (10-10, 1-5) missed their final eight shots of the half and were just 2-of-10 from the free-throw line during that span. Kentrell Gransberry led South Florida with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
NO. 23 VIRGINIA TECH 67, MARYLAND 64 (OT)
Zabian Dowdell scored four of his 19 points in overtime and host Virginia Tech rallied after blowing an eight-point lead late in regulation to improve to 10-0 at home this season.
The Hokies (14-5, 4-1), who saw a 58-50 lead disappear in the final 6 minutes when they managed just one more point, went ahead to stay on two free throws by Jamon Gordon with 3:08 left, then padded their lead on Dowdell's putback with 2:11 to play.
Gordon added 16 points and Coleman Collins had 11 and 14 rebounds for the Hokies.
Maryland (15-5, 1-4) lost for the second time in five days in Virginia. The Terps were beaten 103-91 at Virginia on Tuesday night.
D.J. Strawberry led the Terrapins with 16 points and Mike Jones and Greivis Vasquez had 12 each.
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