Thursday, March 05, 2009


March 5, 2009

For Pitt, a Knight to Remember (Post-Gazette) as Pitt Retires Brandin Knight's Jersey (Tribune-Review) in a surprise ceremony before Pittsburgh hosted Marquette in a Big East conference game with post-season and Big East regular season implications.

Knight, who wore uniform No. 20, is Pitt's all-time leader in assists (785) and steals (298) and scored 1,440 points from 1999-2003 and is the player widely considered by Pitt followers as the key to the programs resurgence of the last eight years. Knight is also a member of the NBE Big East All-Time Top 50 Players and a current Panther assistant coach under Jamie Dixon.

All that and a game as well as No. 3 Pitt Runs Over No. 13 Marquette (Tribune-review), 90-75, before a Peterson Events Center sell-out crowd of 12,508. It was the 20th consecutive home win for Jamie Dixon's club and a school-record 14th Big East win in a season.

After taking a 43-36 lead at halftime, Pitt forgot there was another 20 minutes to play as the Golden Eagles stunned the Panthers with a lightning quick 21-5 run in under four-minutes to take a 57-48 lead. Pitt answered...and asnwered again...and again...leaving Marquette Feeling Down and Out (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) after their third loss in a row as they have played without injured Dominic James in all but four minutes of those three games against Pitt, Connecticut and Louisville.

Pitt quickly knotted the score at 57, with a 9-0 spurt of their own that took all of two minutes. After a Lazar Hayward three-pointer gave MU a lead at 60-57, Pitt them embarked on a 28-5 run over 10 minutes to give them an 85-65 lead with 3:20 remaining and chants of 'We Want UConn' echoed through the 'Pete' as fans began to look forward to this Saturday's showdown with the No. 1 Huskies.

All told, after Marquette's run to take the 57-48 lead, Pitt responded by outscoring MU 37-8 over the next 12:40 of the game in a barrage as impressive to see as it sounds. DeJuan Blair (23 points) scored inside, Sam Young (18 points) scored in transition, Levance Fields (17 points, 10 assists, 2 turnovers) orchestrated the attack with key buckets by Gilbert Brown (11 points) and Jermaine Dixon (13 points) came when necessary. Besides the five players who scored in double figures, Pitt managed to shoot 63% from the floor and owned a sparkling 2:1 (22 to 11) assist to turnover ratio.

The Panthers Win May Secure a Top Seed (Post-Gazette) or at least the Big Win Moves Pitt closer to No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament (Post-Gazette) ahead of the showdown with UConn this Saturday.



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