Scores

Final

Marquette 71

(15-6, 5-3 Big East)

(12) Pittsburgh 77

(17-1, 6-1 Big East)

12:00 PM ET, January 28, 2006

Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 T
MARQ 40 3171
#12PITT 33 4477

Top Performers

Marquette: D. James 16 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Stl

Pittsburgh: A. Gray 13 Pts, 20 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

Graves, Krauser, Gray pace Panthers to victory

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Carl Krauser's most important assist for Pittsburgh (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) in a comeback victory over Marquette came off the court. He made certain backup Antonio Graves didn't get discouraged after being pushed deep down the bench.

Graves, seldom-used most of the season, and Krauser led a decisive 10-0 run late in the game and the Panthers overcame a sluggish start and a 12-point deficit to beat Marquette 77-71 Saturday.

Graves scored 19 points in easily his best game of the season and Krauser added 16, including five in a matter of seconds after it was announced he had moved past mentor Brandin Knight on Pitt's career scoring list.

Aaron Gray had 13 points and 20 rebounds -- the most by a Pitt player since Gerald Jordan's 20 against West Virginia 10 years ago this month -- to help Pitt to a 45-30 edge on the boards that proved decisive during the turnaround second half.

Pitt (17-1, 6-1 Big East) improved to 13-0 at home with successive wins over Syracuse and Marquette after losing for the first time, at St. John's, last Saturday.

Graves' outside shooting -- he was 3-of-4 on 3-pointers -- played a key role, just as Krauser predicted it would. Krauser didn't know when Graves would break out, but was certain he would.

"Honestly, it's been a tough year for me," said Graves, a junior guard who averaged 7.8 points while starting all but two games last season. "I've been trying to stick with it and keep grinding and do whatever I had to do to succeed. Carl really helped me."

Graves had scored only 11 points in Pitt's previous nine games. But he came in early in the game after coach Jamie Dixon briefly benched all of his starters with Pitt down 13-5 and wound up playing 24 minutes.

"We stressed getting off to a good start and being ready to go, but my advice didn't go very far," Dixon said.

Graves' 19 points were a career high, topping the 18 he had against Penn State last season. Graves, whose playing time was cut by the emergence of freshman guard Levance Fields, hadn't scored in double figures since doing so twice in Pitt's first three games.

Marquette (15-6, 5-3), the only one of the Big East's five new members with a winning record in conference play, rode its excellent outside shooting early to leads of 8-0, 13-3 and 19-7.

But coach Tom Crean said that halfway through their first season in the Big East, the Eagles are learning the difference between it and Conference USA, their former league.

"It's the depth of the league," Crean said. "Teams can go to their bench and there's no drop-off. It's really impressive."

So was Pitt's rebounding edge, with Levon Kendall adding nine rebounds. Gray (9) and Kendall (5) combined for 14 of Pitt's 19 offensive rebounds.

"My offense was bad, and I had to keep taking three or four opportunities to get an easy basket," said Gray, who was 6-of-14 from the field.

Pitt went on the first of two 10-0 runs in the second half to take a 52-47 lead on Graves' 3-pointer. Marquette later regained the lead at 56-54 on Jerel McNeal's basket, but seemed to lose its offensive rhythm when its second-leading scorer, freshman point guard Dominic James, sat out for 7½ minutes with a shoulder injury.

Just ahead of Graves' 3-pointer, Pitt had taken its first lead at 49-47 on Krauser's steal and layup seconds after he had tied it with a 3-pointer. The burst came immediately after he learned he had passed Knight into 13th place on Pitt's career scoring list.

"They honored me on the big screen, so I thought it would be good to come down and get that shot," Krauser said.

Marquette regained the lead at 58-56 on Joe Chapman's basket with 6:26 remaining, but Pitt went on its second and decisive 10-0 run keyed by Graves' go-ahead 3-pointer, Krauser's three-point play and Graves' two free throws.

James initially injured his shoulder running into a screen set by the 7-foot Gray in the first half, then aggravated it while being fouled by Fields with about 13 minutes remaining. James had a team-high 16 points in 30 minutes, but the Golden Eagles struggled for long stretches with James sitting down and leading scorer Steve Novak contained.

Novak, who averages 16 points and had 41 in an earlier upset of No. 1 Connecticut, fouled out late with eight points. Novak is fighting an ankle injury and has been held to 13 points in his last two games after scoring a combined 52 in the previous two.

Reserve Ryan Amoroso added 14 points for Marquette.

Pitt plays Tuesday at No. 1 Connecticut. The Panthers are 0-12 in their 100-year basketball history against No. 1-ranked teams.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MARQ
PITT
Points 71 77
FG Made-Attempted 29-63 (.460) 28-65 (.431)
3P Made-Attempted 8-21 (.381) 9-20 (.450)
FT Made-Attempted 5-12 (.417) 12-18 (.667)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
Largest Lead 12 10

2005-06 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Jan 28, 2006 @PITT 77, MARQ 71Recap
Feb 18, 2006 @MARQ 84, PITT 82Recap