PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — No. 1 Syracuse didn’t grant Pitt access to its first Big East win of the season, beating the Panthers Monday night at the Carrier Dome, 71-63.
Pitt allowed the Orange to storm out to a 15-2 lead in the game’s opening five minutes, which proved to be too big of a deficit to overcome in the end.
The Panthers battled back with a 9-2 run to close the gap to 17-9 with 10:30 left in the first half. Pitt even cut the deficit to four points, 19-15, with seven minutes until halftime, but Syracuse punched back and took a 35-26 halftime lead.
Both teams traded punches to start the second half and Pitt widdled the Orange lead back down to four, 53-49, on a jumper by Talib Zanna with under nine minutes to play.
Syracuse landed the final punch, though, and responded with a 6-0 run after coach Jim Boeheim called a timeout. The Panthers could forge another run and lost, 71-63.
Guards Ashton Gibbs and Cameron Wright and small forward Lamar Patterson led Pitt in scoring with 10 points each. Dante Taylor had 11 rebounds and Nasir Robinson and Talib Zanna added six each as the Panthers outrebounded Syracuse, 38-24.
Pitt shot just 39 percent from the field (22-of-56) to 46 percent for the Orange (23-0f-50).
Pitt returns to action Saturday as College Gameday visits campus for a 9 p.m. tipoff against Louisville.