Pitt powers past Syracuse
Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) – Levance Fields scored a career-high 24 points,
leading 10th-ranked Pittsburgh to a 74-66 win over Syracuse, in the Big East
opener for both schools.
Ronald Ramon added 12 points, while Aaron Gray posted nine points and nine
rebounds for the Panthers (13-2, 1-0 Big East), who have won their last three
games. Antonio Graves also scored nine for Pitt.
Eric Devendorf had 17 points to pace the Orange (11-4, 0-1), who had a two-
game win streak stopped. Darryl Watkins and Demetris Nichols each tallied 11
points for Syracuse, which struggled by shooting 5-of-19 from beyond the arc.
The schools renewed their rivalry from the 2006 Big East Championship game, a
65-61 Syracuse win at Madison Square Garden. The matchup also paired two of
the conference’s top three winningest programs over the last five seasons.
However, the Panthers continued their success over the Orange, beating
Syracuse for the ninth time in the last 12 meetings.
The Panthers were behind by one at the half, but then scored the first seven
of the second period. Graves drained a three-pointer for a 38-34 Pitt lead,
and Fields’ layup, after a Terrence Roberts turnover, capped the push for a
Syracuse came back to tie the game at 40 on Josh Wright’s jumper, but the
Panthers took the lead for good with an ensuing 13-2 burst. Ramon’s jumper
ended the flurry with 12:04 remaining.
The Orange managed to cut the margin to 60-58 with 6:26 to go on Andy Rautins’
jumper, but Graves came right back with a three. After Devendorf lost the
ball, Mike Cook made a finger-roll layup, with the ball rolling around the rim
before falling through for a 65-58 margin with 5:02 left.
Syracuse got as close as three, at 65-62, on Devendorf’s layup with 3:39
remaining, but Ramon hit a three on the ensuing possession. Syracuse then
faltered when Nichols missed a jumper and the Orange were forced to foul in
the final minute. Fields and Ramon each hit three foul shots down the stretch.
It was tight throughout the opening 20 minutes. Syracuse led by as many as
six, as Roberts’ layup moved the Orange to a 24-18 advantage with 6:39 left.
Pitt scored the final four points to get within 34-33 at the break.
Pitt opened its 25th season of Big East play…This was the 95th meeting, with
Syracuse owning a 61-34 advantage in the series which began in 1914. Pitt has
won three of the last four matchups between the programs at the Carrier Dome.
Pitt is 11-33 all-time versus the Orange in games played in Syracuse…The
Orange shot 43 percent, compared to 48 percent for Pitt.