Friday , Mar , 09 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Panthers beat Marquette, roar into Big East semifinals

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Aaron Gray scored 22 points and pulled down 10
rebounds to boost 13th-ranked Pittsburgh to an 89-79 win over No. 18 Marquette
in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Sam Young added 17 points and Mike Cook had 16 for the Panthers (26-6), who
will take on Louisville in the semifinals on Friday. Levance Fields ended with
13 points and Antonio Graves 10 for Pittsburgh.

This was the second meeting between the teams in less than a week. After
beating the Panthers in overtime on the road back in January, the Golden
Eagles completed the sweep in the regular season finale last Saturday by a
75-71 final.

The Golden Eagles had a hard time adjusting to Pittsburgh’s quick, but
effective offense.

“We are always looking ahead and we seem to get some steals, some turnovers
that got us going in transition,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. “But I
think we made some good decisions in that area. You have to take the right
opportunity, and I think with our seven turnovers it reflects we did a good
job in making decisions throughout the game.”

Dan Fitzgerald scored 20 and Wesley Matthews 19 for the Golden Eagles (24-9),
who beat St. John’s Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh’s bench outscored Marquette’s reserves, 21-5, and the Panthers had
20 points off 14 Marquette turnovers.

“I don’t think there’s any question that our short bench caught up with us a
little bit,” Marquette coach Tom Crean said. “We didn’t have the same buzz
defensively in the second half that we needed and we’ll give great credit to
Pittsburgh because they played outstanding the entire night and made a lot of
big shots.”

A pair of Fitzgerald free throws brought Marquette within 42-41 less than two
minutes into the second half, but the Panthers responded with seven straight
points, capped by a three from Graves.

The Golden Eagles couldn’t get closer than five the rest of the way. Fields’
jumper moved the margin to 79-65 with 3:21 remaining.

It was a tightly contested first half with the Panthers holding a 40-37
advantage at the break.

Game Notes

Georgetown will play Notre Dame in the other semifinal. This is the first time
since the 2002-03 Big East championship the top four seeds have advanced to
the semifinals…This is also the first time since 1997 that the semifinals
haven’t included Connecticut or Syracuse…The Panthers are 14-5 in league
tournament play since 2001…The Panthers have advanced to the title game in
five of the last six seasons…Dominic James had 16 points, Lazar Hayward 11
and Ousmane Barro 10 boards for the Golden Eagles.