(24) Wisconsin 64

(10-2, 0-2 away)

Pittsburgh 73

(11-0, 9-0 home)

    6:00 PM ET, December 31, 2005

    Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    #24WIS 28 3664
    PITT 35 3873

    Top Performers

    Wisconsin: A. Tucker 25 Pts, 7 Reb

    Pittsburgh: C. Krauser 22 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Panthers pass first big test of season 

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Wisconsin did exactly what it wanted to against Pittsburgh by getting 7-foot center Aaron Gray in early foul trouble and forcing the unbeaten Panthers to go relatively deep on their very inexperienced bench.

    The strategy may have been right, but the outcome was all wrong for the 24th-ranked Badgers.

    Carl Krauser scored 22 points and provided a steadying hand to a mostly freshman Pittsburgh lineup, and the Panthers held off Wisconsin 73-64 on Saturday in their first game this season against a ranked opponent.

    Krauser, a senior who planned to turn pro after last season but changed his mind, led a 13-0 run midway through the first half that gave the Panthers (11-0) an 18-10 lead. Krauser also scored on a succession of key possessions in the second half whenever Wisconsin (10-2) tried to make a charge.

    Alando Tucker, Wisconsin's only returning starter, scored 25 points but no other Badger had more than nine points. The Badgers shot 37.5 percent in the first half and 42.1 percent overall, including 3-of-15 from 3-point range. Pitt shot 55.1 percent and got 35 points from its bench to 16 for Wisconsin.

    "Their bench players filled in great for their big guys and played better than their starters," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said.

    Three freshmen -- Sam Young, Levance Fields and Tyrell Biggs -- made major contributions to help Pittsburgh start 11-0 for the second time in three seasons.

    "Our young guys are the real deal," Krauser said. "They help us win."

    Young, a 6-6 reserve forward coming off a 16-point game against Coppin State, had 16 points and five rebounds in Pitt's final non-conference game before starting Big East play Wednesday against Notre Dame.

    Biggs, averaging 2.3 points coming in, played more than usual because of Gray's foul problems and had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. Fields had nine points as the three freshmen combined for 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting and added eight rebounds and five assists.

    "I felt like a freshman coming into the season, but I don't anymore," said Fields, who plays the point so Krauser can slide over to shooting guard.

    Gray, averaging 12.3 points and 10.7 rebounds, was limited to five points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

    "I had to come in and show I could handle myself inside with their big guys. This game gave me a lot of confidence," Biggs said.

    This is Pitt's most inexperienced team since former coach Ben Howland took over a reeling program in 1999. Under Howland and Jamie Dixon, now in his third season, the Panthers won 98 games the last four seasons with a mostly veteran cast.

    "We had three freshmen out there most of the second half, and I don't think many teams are doing that against this kind of competition," Dixon said. "It's not to get ready to play in a couple of years, they're going to be out there now. Through 11 games, they've improved significantly, especially on defense, and you don't see that very often out of freshmen."

    The Badgers, down by as many as 12 points in the second half, cut it to 67-63 with 1:53 remaining but were outscored 6-1 the rest of the way to end a six-game winning streak. John DeGroat scored inside to make it 71-63 with 1:35 to play, and Fields added two free throws to get Pitt's lead back to 10 with less than a minute remaining.

    The Badgers were trying to start a season 11-1 for the first time since being 12-1 in 1998-99.

    Brian Butch, coming off an 18-point, 10-rebound game against Louisiana Tech, was held to nine points and five rebounds. Except for Tucker, Wisconsin's starters were limited to a combined 23 points.

    Pitt played a ranked opponent for the first time since losing to Pacific 79-71 in its only game in last season's NCAA tournament. The Panthers started 10-0 last season, but were upset at home by Bucknell on New Year's weekend and went on to lose nine of their final 19.

    The Panthers have won 58 of their last 59 home non-conference games, losing only to Bucknell, and are 37-1 at home against non-conference opponents since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002. They have won their last 10 against Big 10 teams.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 64 73
    FG Made-Attempted 24-57 (.421) 27-49 (.551)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-15 (.200) 5-12 (.417)
    FT Made-Attempted 13-20 (.650) 14-24 (.583)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 5 12

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 31, 2005 @PITT 73, WIS 64Recap