Boston College 53

(23-9, 10-6 Big East)

(6) Pittsburgh 62

(29-3, 13-3 Big East)

    7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2004

    Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

    1 2 T
    BC 26 2753
    #6PITT 22 4062

    Krauser leads pivotal late-game surge

    NEW YORK -- Pitt coach Jamie Dixon knew just what to expect in the Big East semifinal game against Boston College.

    "We knew it was going to be a physical game, a lot of banging inside," Dixon said. "There's big bodies out there. They have big bodies. We have big bodies. They have tough kids, we have tough kids."

    And the difference?

    "We seem to make big shots."

    Those shots saved the defending champion Panthers, who reached the tournament title game for the fourth straight year with a 62-53 victory Friday night.

    The No. 6 Panthers (29-3) will play No. 9 Connecticut for the championship Saturday night.

    This was a grind-it-out game that was close until the final minute when Carl Krauser scored six of his 18 points to pave the way for Pitt.

    Krauser, a New York native, struggled with his shot early, perhaps from the pressure of playing in front of friends and family. "I didn't want to let my teammates down," he said. "I knew I was missing. I tried to do some other things."

    Finally, though, it became his show.

    Pitt was up 41-40 when Krauser and Jaron Brown made consecutive baskets for a five-point lead. After Mark McCarroll hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran out, the Panthers looked ready to break away.

    But BC (23-9) came back and closed within two points at 50-58 when Jermaine Watson hit a 3-pointer, the first basket from beyond the arc for the Eagles in three games. It was 52-50 when BC's Craig Smith missed an inside shot with 1:20 to play.

    "It was kind of crazy," Smith said. I thought it was going in."

    Krauser responded with a basket and then was fouled on a 3-point attempt and converted all three shots. That ignited a 9-1 run that broke the game open in the final minute.

    "I wanted to make a big shot," Krauser said. "I know we needed a bucket and I just wanted to come down and make that shot."

    From there, Pitt pulled away for the tough victory.

    BC coach Al Skinner was disappointed with the loss.

    "Defensively, we got a little careless," he said. "We didn't maintain our concentration defensively as well as we should have. What we wanted to do and what we actually did didn't occur this evening."

    Krauser led Pitt with 18 points, while Brown had 11 and Chris Taft 10. Chevon Troutman had six of the Panthers' 11 steals.

    Smith was scoreless for the first 10 minutes but finished with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds, recording his 11th double-double and third in three days for BC.

    The Eagles were attempting to become just the second team in the 25-year history of this tournament to reach the championship by winning three games. No team has won four to capture the title.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2003-04 Season

    Jan 28, 2004 @PITT 68, BC 58Recap
    » Mar 12, 2004 @PITT 62, BC 53Recap