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This one was best summed up by the final minutes of Pitt Blather's liveblog. Fast forward past the first hour and a half of the game:
1:35: Suddenly Pitt can’t pass the ball on the perimeter? Down 6 with under 7 minutes and a slew of throw aways that boggle the mind.
1:40: No coincidence that the Orange are even hotter offensively with Gilbert Brown out in the last few minutes. That limping hopefully was worked out. Down 70-62 with under 6 minutes.
1:50: Whoah. Fields with a couple FTs. A block, Brown finally drills a 3 and then Ramon steals and lay-in on the inbound and it is now 75-71 Syracuse with 2:33.
1:59: Ugh. Brown got himself trapped and just tried to get a foul. Nothing there.
2:01: Oh, my God!!!!!!!!!
2:03: Pitt WINS??? I love Pitt, and they never gave up but… This was a Syracuse Choke job. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It went Pitt’s way — and we all think Pitt was due for something to go their way. Unbelievable. 82-77 Pitt.
If you don't follow, Pitt went on an 18-2 run during the later part of that stretch. 18-2. The Panthers trailed by 11 with just over 3 minutes to play. The Dome was rocking, Pitt was simply sloppy on offense and couldn't stop a red-hot 'Cuse team on defense. After an Orange jam with 3:49 left, Pitt called a timeout. Fields got fouled and drained 2 free-throws. Pitt got a stop (the first in quite a while), and Gilbert Brown (yes, Gilbert Brown the 23% 3-point shooter) nailed a three for what seems like the first time this season. Then the Orange got careless and Ramon picked off an inbounds pass, laying it in to all of a sudden cut the lead to 4 (2:34 to play). Pitt would get another stop, then Fields would get fouled again and again make both shots (he's clutch). Syracuse did get a basket after that, but Gilbert Brown (AGAIN?) let go a deep three after absolutely nothing happened on offense. It went down, making it a one point game. Pitt got yet another stop, getting the ball with 25 seconds and a chance to win the game. Brown went down and forced an awful shot that went off the back of the hoop, out of bounds. Pitt fouled, but they still had to foul again to put the Orange on the line. So, Syracuse inbounded, and under the Orange's own basket, Keith Benjamin trapped an Orangemen on the baseline, forcing an awkward dribble. Sam Young (he of the poor, no-hustle defense) snuck in and grabbed the ball, flipping it brilliantly behind his back to Benjamin for a wide open layup. Pitt led with 8 seconds, no timoeuts for either team. The Orange missed a shot, there was a scrum for the rebound, and little Fields emerged with the ball, was fouled, and got 4 shots because whining Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was at midcourt pleading for a foul call. He was T'd up to the joy of Pitt fans everywhere. Final, 82-77.
If you read The Pensblog, I can sum all that up in two words. Syracuse=Stunned.
Next up is WVU on Monday in Morgantown.