Panthers snap three-game skid

BOSTON (AP) -- Pittsburgh could still earn a bye in the Big East
tournament and a berth in the NCAAs thanks to its old friends at
Boston College.

John DeGroat had eight points and six rebounds in 10 second-half
minutes Monday night to help the 24th-ranked Panthers snap a
three-game losing streak by beating No. 5 Boston College 72-50. The
decisive victory was Pitt's sixth straight over the Eagles --
including three in the conference tournament -- and it kept BC from
clinching a share of the Big East title.

"They've got our number," BC forward Jared Dudley said.
"Pittsburgh's done it to us the last couple of years. They like
playing against us."

Three straight losses -- the last two at home -- had knocked Pitt
(19-7, 9-6), which had been ranked as high as No. 10, from 17th to
24th in the AP poll. The Panthers went from a team worried about
its NCAA seeding to one in danger of missing the Tournament

Pittsburgh, which holds the fifth and last spot right now for a
first-round bye, will finish the regular season at Notre Dame on

"This is the real Pittsburgh team right here. That's really how
we play," guard Carl Krauser said. "Everyone knows the Pittsburgh
team is tough."

Boston College (23-3, 12-3) isn't likely to forget it, either.

The Eagles, who are headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference next
season, could still win the Big East outright or share it if they
beat Rutgers on Saturday. Connecticut (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP), which is a half-game
behind BC, plays Georgetown on Wednesday and No. 13 Syracuse on

"This game was extremely important to them. But it was
important to us, too. We had something to gain here," BC coach Al
Skinner said. "The motivation for them was fine, but that's no
reason we should have allowed something like this to occur."

Antonio Graves had 13 points and five rebounds; Chris Taft had
12 and eight; Chevon Troutman had 11 and seven, and Krauser had 10
and eight for Pitt. The Panthers outrebounded the Eagles 49-27 --
27-10 in the second half -- and outshot them 48 percent to 31

"They came in here and it was men against boys," said BC's
Craig Smith.

The Eagles won their first 20 games and attained their highest
ranking ever -- No. 3 -- before losing two of their last three games.
Another sellout crowd came to say goodbye to the senior class, and
Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie jammed with the band, playing the
drums on "Johnny B. Good."

Even with a chance to clinch the conference title, BC barely put
up a fight.

Smith scored 22 points but was the only Eagle in double figures.
With 5:47 left and BC trailing 59-45, Smith airballed one free
throw and then meekly rolled his second off the back of the rim.

And that convinced the Conte Forum crowd to try to beat the
oncoming blizzard.

For BC, the loss was shockingly similar to the one posted by its
football team in the Big East finale that knocked it from the
lucrative Fiesta Bowl to the Continental Tire Bowl. Like that 47-17
loss to Syracuse, this one wasn't even close.

Smith hit a jumper in the lane to make it 34-32 with 17:38 left.
But Pittsburgh scored the next 11 points, getting consecutive
putbacks from DeGroat to make it 45-32.

BC went 7:19 without scoring while Pitt ran off 11 consecutive
points -- five from Krauser and four from Troutman -- to take a 16-9
lead. Smith scored 11 consecutive BC points as the Eagles cut it to

In the first half, BC shot 29 percent (10-for-34) from the