The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

February 12, 2014

Syracuse, Ennis buzz past Pitt

PITTSBURGH — Tyler Ennis made a 35-footer at the buzzer to help No. 1 Syracuse remain unbeaten with a 58-56 win over No. 25 Pitt on Wednesday night.

Syracuse (24-0, 11-0 ACC) remained one of two undefeated teams in Division I along with Wichita State.

Trailing by one with 4.4 seconds left, Ennis caught the inbounds pass and dribbled up the court before hitting the shot over two defenders.

Talib Zanna, who led Pitt (20-5, 8-4) with 16 points and 14 rebounds, had given Pitt a 56-55 lead with 4.4 seconds remaining after he hit two free throws.

It was Pitt’s first loss at home to a top-five team in the 12-year history of the Petersen Events Center, their on-campus arena. The Panthers (20-5, 8-4) had been 9-0 against top-five teams and 13-1 against teams ranked in the top 10.

C.J. Fair led Syracuse with 14 points.

Pitt had a 54-48 lead with less than two minutes remaining, but Fair made a 3-pointer with 1:40 to go. He then hit a jumper to make it 54-53 with 51 seconds left. After Pitt missed on the other end, Ennis made two free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Orange the lead.

Pitt led 27-24 at halftime and built its lead to nine in the early stages of the second half when Lamar Patterson made a 3-pointer to make it 37-28 with 15 minutes remaining.

Syracuse stormed back with a 17-8 run and tied the score on a Trevor Cooney 3-pointer with 6:53 to go, but Pitt regained control after Zanna converted a three-point play and freshman Jamel Artis sank two free throws for a 50-45 lead.

But it was all Syracuse after that. Pitt’s only points in the final 1:59 came from Zanna’s two free throws, and the Panthers were outscored 10-3 in the final 1:59.

Syracuse had to play without backup center Baye Moussa Keita, who sat out with a sprained knee. That forced sophomore forward Jerami Grant into duty as the backup center behind Rakeem Christmas.

Pitt had injury issues of its own. Senior forward and leading scorer Lamar Patterson had the thumb on his right hand wrapped for a second consecutive game. After going 1 for 9 in his previous outing against Virginia Tech, Patterson scored 13 points.

Pitt led by as many as seven in the first half. A Patterson 3-pointer with 4:30 to go before halftime capped a 10-3 Pitt run and gave the Panthers a 24-17 lead. It was the third 3-pointer of the half for the Panthers, who also had their way on the offensive glass against Syracuse.

The Panthers outrebounded Syracuse, 18-11, in the first half and scored seven second-chance points from nine offensive rebounds.

Syracuse was able to keep it close and got some unlikely scoring from sophomore guard Michael Gbinije, who led the Orange with seven points. Gbinije, who entered the game averaging only 3.3 points per game, tallied seven points in his previous four games combined.

 

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