Pittsburgh Vs. Syracuse: Panthers Lose By Eight Against Nation's Top Team

Pitt lost to Syracuse, but the Panthers did keep it close.

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6 Total Updates since January 16, 2012
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Despite Winless Start To Conference Play, Panthers Feel They Are 'Close'

The Pitt Panthers came into the year as one of the best teams in the Country, but a winless start to Conference play has them as an afterthought at this point in the Season. But a surprisingly good showing against the undefeated and No. 1 ranked Syracuse Orange, the Panthers are starting to feel like they are finally playing some good basketball, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette.

"We're close," senior guard Ashton Gibbs said. "It's definitely obvious that we were right there with one of the best teams in the country. The little things are the only things separating us from all these other teams."

In their two most recent games the Panthers were either in control or in striking distance before allowing their opponent to go on brief but decisive runs. If the Panthers can just play 40 minutes straight without giving up those kinds of runs, they could be a totally different team. They'll have a good chance to make a statement when they face Louisville this weekend.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Vs. Syracuse Score: Cold Shooting Again Dooms Panthers

Pitt was competitive against No. 1 Syracuse, but the team’s cold shooting was (again) its downfall as the Panthers lost 71-63 to the Orange. Losing by eight against the No. 1 team is hardly an embarrassment, but it’s still another loss for Pitt. The team has now lost seven in a row, and with ranked Louisville coming to town this weekend, that streak could get even worse.

But to tonight’s game, Pitt showed signs of breaking out of its funk, but didn’t have enough to knock off the Orange thanks in part to shooting only 39 percent from the field. Ashton Gibbs, who appeared to be on track after a breakout game against Marquette this weekend, was only 4-of-12, finishing with a disappointing ten points. But he wasn’t the only culprit – Nasir Robinson was 1-of-5, Talib Zanna was 3-of-8, and Dante Taylor and J.J. Moore were each 2-of-7 off the bench.

I wrote in the game preview that Pitt would need to have more players step up offensively to have a chance to win. A few did that, and Pitt was able to get 30 points from its bench. Because of that and a huge 38-24 edge on the boards, the Panthers were able to keep the game marginally close.

Much of the problem for Pitt, though, was getting out to a 13-0 deficit after missing their first six shots. That really put the Panthers in the hole and made it difficult to come back. They did, though, getting to within four in the second half, but didn’t quite have enough.

One bright spot was freshman Cameron Wright. Wright, commonly derided for his questionable play, showed up in a big way. He had ten points on 4-6 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes of action. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Epps again got the start and again was scoreless. It’s only been one good game, but it will be interesting to see if Jamie Dixon goes with Wright as the starter in the next game after two scoreless performances from Epps.

Next up for Pitt is that ESPN Gameday contest on Saturday against Louisville. The Panthers will return home desperately needing a win to get on track.

For more on the game and Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation’s Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Vs. Syracuse Final Score: Pitt Loses With Dignity Against Top-Ranked Orange

The Pitt Panthers may have fallen the No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange on Monday, but the 71-63 score was a lot closer than it might have been.

The Panthers struggled with their shooting in the first half, but headed to the locker room with only a 35-26 deficit due primarily to a bunch of offensive rebounds.

In the second half, they got off to a good start with a three-pointer by Ashton Gibbs, only to give up six unanswered points. The Panthers kept battling from there, though, and they forced Syracuse to take a timeout after Talib Zanna’s jumper cut the lead to four with about nine minutes remaining.

Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters then hit three-pointers to take the wind out of Pitt’s sails, however, and the Panthers never got that close again. Still, it was a hard-fought second half for a team that handled Syracuse better than it has handed other, lesser Big East opponents in the past couple weeks. The Panthers may have lost, but they can hold their heads high.

Gibbs, Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright had 10 points each to lead Pitt. Dante Taylor added 11 rebounds. Five Syracuse players finished in double figures, led by Waiters, who had 16 points.

Pitt hosts No. 21-ranked Louisville on Saturday.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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Pitt Vs. Syracuse Score: Weak Shooting Leads To 35-26 Deficit At Half

At halftime, the No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange lead the Pitt Panthers by a score of 35-26. Ashton Gibbs leads the Panthers with seven points, while Kris Joseph has nine for Syracuse. Pitt leads on the glass, with 22 rebounds compared to Syracuse’s 11, but as with several other games the Panthers have had recently, they’ve been out-shot by their opponents, 52 percent to 32 percent.

In fact, Syracuse got off to an 13-0 lead as the Panthers missed one shot another (and suffered a couple turnovers by Nasir Robinson). Pitt didn’t get on the board until a two-pointer by Lamar Patterson four minutes into the game. A few minutes later, J.J. Moore hit a three and Gibbs hit a jumper to close the lead to six, but the Panthers never held the lead in the first half, and never got particularly close. Still, they’re within striking distance as we begin the second half.

For more on Pitt basketball, check out Cardiac Hill.

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College Basketball Schedule, TV Times And More: Pittsburgh Battles No. 1 Syracuse

Pittsburgh takes on Syracuse in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day battle of Big East squads.

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