(25) Syracuse 60

(11-2, 2-1 Big East)

(3) Pittsburgh 73

(14-1, 4-0 Big East)

    12:00 PM ET, January 18, 2003

    Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    #25SYR 28 3260
    #3PITT 34 3973

    Page helps Panthers improve to 4-0 in the Big East

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- At a critical time when many teams would have panicked, No. 3 Pittsburgh merely shrugged its shoulders and won again in its usual workmanlike way.

    Julius Page

    Julius Page slams home two of his game-high 25 points against Syracuse.

    Julius Page scored 25 points and Chevy Troutman added 23 as Pittsburgh went inside for its scoring after star Brandin Knight was hurt in a 73-60 victory Saturday over (unranked ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) Syracuse.

    Pitt, starting 14-1 for the second straight season, improved to 4-0 for the first time in 21 Big East seasons and ended Syracuse's 11-game winning streak. Pitt beat the Orangemen (11-2, 2-1) for the fourth straight time.

    Knight, a third-team All-American point guard, sat out for more than seven minutes after getting a concussion during an accidental collision with 7-footer Craig Forth early in the second half.

    But rather than getting rattled with its playmaker and leader gone, Pittsburgh built its lead from two points to 10 as Page hurt the Orange from the outside and Troutman repeatedly got open underneath for layups and putbacks. Troutman made 10 of 12 shots off the bench and Page was 10-of-15, including 4-of-8 on 3-pointers.

    "We've got so much depth, you can't say, 'If we stop Brandin Knight, we're going to beat Pittsburgh,''' coach Ben Howland said. "You're going to have to stop a lot of guys.''

    Syracuse stopped some of them: Knight went scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting in 26 minutes, Jaron Brown went 2-of-11 for four points and Ontario Lett, averaging 15.3 in Big East play, was held to six points. It was Knight's first scoreless game since Feb. 3, 2001, against Notre Dame.

    "But we don't have a star, we do it as a team,'' Page said after his first 20-point game this season. "Anybody on our team can hurt you.''

    Page scored 15 points in the first half. But Syracuse was unable to bang bodies underneath with the more physical Panthers, so Troutman took over in the second half with 17 points.

    "We really don't have a go-to guy who's always going to score 20 points,'' Page said. "We look to get the ball to the open guy.''

    The key stretch came after Knight got hurt. Pitt, which trailed by as many as seven points in the first half, scored 13 of the next 18 points to open a 50-40 lead.

    With Brown holding Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony scoreless for long stretches and limiting him to a manageable 14 points, the Orangemen never made a late run. Anthony was averaging a Big East-leading 23.5 points.

    "He was a big challenge, and I like big challenges,'' Brown said. "I think I did a good job because we won. We're a physical team, and he wore down quicker than I thought he would.''

    As usual, Pitt's No. 4-ranked defense was the difference, holding Syracuse -- No. 5 in scoring -- nearly 26 points below its season average. Four of Syracuse's five starters came into the game averaging more than Pitt's leading scorer.

    "They're physical and they know when to be physical. They ride you a little bit, and they give you a push at the right times and in the right places,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

    "Some of it could be called, some of it isn't. It's a tough team to referee -- they're like Georgetown used to be, they get away with some, but that's just part of good team defense.''

    The game marked the long-awaited debut of Syracuse freshman point guard Billy Edelin, a much-recruited high school star who sat out a season following sexual misconduct allegations and a 12-game suspension this season for playing in non-sanctioned recreation league games.

    Edelin scored only two points, a putback with 12 seconds left for the game's final points, in seven ineffective minutes. He played four minutes in the first half -- a span in which Pitt rallied from a 19-14 deficit for its first lead at 24-22 -- and three minutes at the end.

    "We've got to get Billy back and adjusted, and it's going to take time, but I believe we have the potential to be a real good team in the pretty near future,'' Boeheim said.

    Gerry McNamara, a former Pennsylvania all-stater, led the Orange with 19 points and Hakim Warrick had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Donatas Zavackas added 12 points as Pitt, normally a guard-dominated team, got 45 of its 73 points from its frontcourt.

    Pitt won its 17th straight home game dating to last season and is 10-0 at the new Petersen Events Center.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2002-03 Season

    » Jan 18, 2003 @PITT 73, SYR 60Recap
    Feb 1, 2003 @SYR 67, PITT 65Recap