Sunday , Feb , 15 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Not even UConn can win at Pitt

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Jaron Brown scored 17 points and Mark
McCarroll added 15 off the bench, leading fourth-ranked Pittsburgh to a 75-68
win over No. 5 Connecticut at the Petersen Events Center.

Carl Krauser also scored 13 points for the Panthers (23-2, 9-2 Big East), who
extended the nation’s longest home court winning streak to 40 games. Duke has
won 38 in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Julius Page had 11 points as Pittsburgh earned its fifth win in six tries.

“Obviously this was a very big win for our program and I think that we got a
great effort from our entire team, especially our seniors — Julius, Jaron and
Toree [Morris],” said Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon. “We beat an excellent
team that is very well coached. Our seniors led us through once again.”

The Panthers are off to their best start in Big East play, and have won 14 of
the last 16 games in the conference. The win at home also gave Pittsburgh an
18-0 mark as the host this season, a school record.

Ben Gordon paced the Huskies (19-5, 7-3) with a game-high 23 points. Emeka
Okafor had 16 points in the loss — Connecticut’s second straight after a
four-game win streak.

“I was really excited about this game, but the team wasn’t — at least they
didn’t show it,” said Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun. “This team really
doesn’t show emotion, but I wish they did. I’m a very emotional person.”

Chevon Troutman’s basket four minutes into the second half staked Pittsburgh
to a 42-34 lead. UConn continued to chip away at the lead and Gordon’s long
three from the top of the key made it 45-41 seven minutes into the stanza.

With 9:19 on the clock, Okafor was whistled for his fourth foul and Krauser
made both shots for a 54-43 Pittsburgh cushion. Brown followed with a quick
layup and Chris Taft added a hard jam, pushing the lead to 58-43.

Connecticut cut the deficit to 60-51 thanks to an 8-2 run capped by Gordon’s
1-of-2 performance from the line with 4:52 remaining.

Pittsburgh eventually restored its double-digit lead when Krauser sank 1-of-2
from the charity stripe for a 67-57 score with less than two minutes left. The
Huskies wouldn’t go down easy, as Gordon buried a three-pointer almost a
minute later to trim its deficit to 69-62.

UConn, which never posted a serious threat the rest of the way, split the
regular-season series. The Huskies earned a 68-65 win on January 19.

“We have six games left this season and we need to take it one game at a
time,” said Calhoun. “And hopefully we will get to see Pittsburgh in the Big
East Tournament.”

The Panthers raced to a 9-2 lead after Page’s three-pointer and Brown’s layup
in succession almost two minutes into the first half. Connecticut later closed
within three at 14-11 thanks to a three by Gordon.

Pittsburgh then scored seven straight points and made it 21-11 on McCarroll’s
two-handed dunk midway through the opening half. An Okafor basket later pulled
the Huskies within five at 25-20, but the Panthers headed to the break with a
36-28 advantage.

Okafor led all scorers with 12 points at halftime, while McCarroll paced the
Panthers with 11.

UCONN PITT