SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Xenia Stewart hit a pullup jumper from the right wing at the final buzzer and Pittsburgh (unranked in ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) held off Syracuse 77-75 on Saturday.
The Panthers (14-4, 4-2 Big East) led most of the way and made six straight free throws to take a 75-70 lead with 1:27 to go. Syracuse (13-6, 2-4) then tied it after Erica Morrow sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Chandrea Jones converted a driving layup with 19.7 seconds left.Pittsburgh called a timeout with 8.6 seconds to go to set up a final shot, and Stewart was left all alone for the winner after the Orange concentrated on Big East scoring leader Shavonte Zellous.Zellous, who assisted on the winning basket, led Pitt with 15 points on 3-for-12 shooting, Shayla Scott and Taneisha Harrison each had 13, Stewart finished with 11, and Chelsea Cole had nine points and 11 rebounds.Jones led Syracuse with 23 points, Nicole Michael had 20, and Morrow 16.Pittsburgh has now beaten Syracuse three straight times on the Orange's home court and has won four straight in the series. But the Orange made this one difficult throughout, concentrating defensively on Zellous, who was averaging 24 points a game.Zellous was 1-for-4 from beyond the arc in the first half and did not attempt another. She scored only six points in the second half, four on free throws, and played the final six minutes with four fouls.Pittsburgh held 10-point leads in both halves, but after a three-point play by Pepper Wilson gave the Panthers a 57-47 lead with 15:07 left, Syracuse continued to display plenty of resolve in the wake of a 54-point loss to top-ranked Connecticut a week earlier.The Orange responded with their second 14-4 run of the game. Tyler Ash began the spurt by converting two follow shots and Morrow finished it with a 3-pointer and driving layup to tie it at 61-all at 9:21.After Vionca Murray hit three free throws to give Syracuse only its second lead of the game, 68-67 with 6:01 left, Scott fed Cole for a layup to give Pitt the lead back and the Panthers managed to hold it.Harrison made four straight free throws and Stewart hit two more to give the Panthers a 75-70 lead with 87 seconds to play.