SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- The last time Syracuse looked this bad on
offense, the Carrier Dome wasn't even built yet.
Chris Taft and Mark McCarroll scored 15 points apiece, and Pittsburgh (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) held the Orangemen (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) to their lowest point
total in 36 years with a 66-45 victory Saturday night."That's what this program has been known for for years --
rebounding and defense," Taft said after the physical Panthers
dominated down low. "We have a tradition to uphold."Pitt (19-1, 5-1 Big East) took control inside with a 50-36
rebounding edge to bounce back from its first loss of the season,
68-65 at No. 4 Connecticut on Monday."We didn't have any special game plan. That's how we play
against everybody. We were just all over the glass," said Chevon
Troutman, who led the Panthers with 11 rebounds, including seven
offensive boards.It was the fewest points the Orangemen have scored since losing
71-41 at Kansas in 1968.Syracuse's previous low in the 24-year history of the Carrier
Dome was set in a 51-50 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 16, 1988. It
was the first time Syracuse failed to crack the 50-point mark at
home since coach Jim Boeheim was a freshman in 1962."They are a very physical, strong, tough team. They are just
too strong for us right now -- and too experienced," Boeheim said.
"I'm not talking so much about strength as about mental toughness.
I don't think it has anything to do with the weight room. We didn't
rebound on either end tonight."Syracuse (13-3, 3-2), which lost its second straight game, was
led by Hakim Warrick with 16 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth
straight double-double. Gerry McNamara, hobbled by a sore left
groin, had eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, nearly 10 points below
his average.The Orangemen shot a season-low 27 percent (15-of-55), hit just
11 of 25 free throws and were outscored 40-18 in the paint."It was 50-50 of them having great rebounding position and them
outhustling us the whole game," Warrick said. "It's something you
can't teach. It's having heart, and we didn't have that tonight."Troutman added 12 points for Pitt, which steadily pulled away
from Syracuse after holding a 29-23 halftime lead.Neither team could find the mark in the first half as they both
shot under 33 percent from the field. But Pitt pulled down 13
offensive rebounds -- almost matching Syracuse's total of 17 -- and
outscored the Orangemen 11-2 on second-chance points to take its
halftime lead."Maybe after practice we should go outside and chase buses.
Anything to get a little tougher," said Syracuse's 7-foot center,
Craig Forth, who had just two rebounds."Even one of their guards had 10 rebounds," Forth said,
referring to Pitt point guard Carl Krauser. "That's
embarrassing."It also was the Orangemen's lowest-scoring first half of the
season, two fewer points than they scored against Seton Hall in
their last game."Our whole team defense was there for 40 minutes. I was real
pleased at how we responded and came back from our first loss,"
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.The Panthers built a 14-7 cushion after eight minutes, but
Syracuse went on a 14-6 spurt to take a brief 21-20 lead on
McNamara's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4 minutes to play
in the half.