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Thread: Pitt Panthers......Your 2010-11 Big East Regular Season Champs!!!

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    Default Pitt Panthers......Your 2010-11 Big East Regular Season Champs!!!

    Pitt men clinch Big East regular-season championship with 60-50 win

    Saturday, March 05, 2011
    By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Fourth-ranked Pitt defeated No. 19 Villanova, 60-50, to clinch the outright Big East regular-season championship this afternoon at the Petersen Events Center. The victory gives the Panthers (27-4, 15-3) their first regular-season title since 2004 and the sixth in school history.

    Before a sellout crowd on senior day, the Panthers tied the school record for most Big East victories in a season. Junior guard Ashton Gibbs led the Panthers with 18 points. Junior forward Nasir Robinson added nine points.

    The Panthers will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and will play their first game at noon Thursday against an opponent to be determined.

    Villanova played the slow-down game, bleeding the shot clock on almost every possession. The strategy kept the score close until midway through the second half, when the Panthers used an 18-4 run to boost the lead to double digits for the first time.

    Pitt held a 22-18 lead at halftime, but Villanova quickly took a lead early in the second half after scoring seven of the first nine points after halftime. It was 28-25 after Maalik Wayns converted a three-point play.

    The Panthers stormed back with a spurt of their own. Five different players scored during a 13-2 run that gave Pitt a 38-30 with 9:11 remaining. Gilbert Brown made a 3-pointer to push the lead to 34-30. With that shot, Brown became the 40th player in school history to score 1,000 points.

    That bucket was followed by a fastbreak layup by Travon Woodall and an offensive rebound and putback by Gary McGhee.

    A few minutes later, Gibbs gave the Panthers an 11-point lead when he made a 3-pointer to make it 43-32 with 7:01 left. The Wildcats cut the lead to five with 4:04 left, but the Panthers scored eight consecutive points to put the game out of reach.

    Ray Fittipaldo: or 412-263-1230.

    First published on March 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

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    Default Re: Pitt Panthers......Your 2010-11 Big East Regular Season Champs!!!

    Pitt secures top seed for Big East tournament
    Associated Press

    PITTSBURGH - Reeling Villanova figured its best chance for an upset at Pittsburgh was to slow down the game.

    It just wasn't enough, not with the Panthers on the brink of the Big East championship.

    Ashton Gibbs had 18 points and No. 4 Pittsburgh clinched the outright conference title, using a big second half to beat No. 19 Villanova 60-50 on Saturday.

    "They tried to hold out and basically break us down and make us force shots up in our offense while they remained patient," Panthers senior Gilbert Brown said. "We had to really stay focused and stay patient and value every possession, because every possession and every shot mattered with the minimal possessions we had."

    Pitt (27-4, 15-3) earned its first outright Big East title in seven years and the No. 1 seed for next week's conference tournament for the third time. Second-place Notre Dame put pressure on the Panthers with a 70-67 victory at Connecticut earlier Saturday, but Pitt was up to the task.

    "We're happy, but we realize that this is just the first checkpoint of what we want to do this year," senior guard Brad Wanamaker said. "We focused on this, but after tonight, we're just focused on New York and we gotta do down there."

    Brown, Nasir Robinson and Travon Woodall each had nine points for the Panthers, who won their first seven Big East games on the way to the wire-to-wire title.

    Villanova senior guard and second-leading scorer Corey Stokes aggravated a left hamstring injury at practice Thursday and was ruled out of Saturday's game earlier in the day. With leading scorer Corey Fisher already limited by severe tendinitis in his right knee, Villanova (21-10, 9-9) felt it had no choice but to take the air out of the ball.

    "We just said there's no way we're going to go in there and outscore those guys without Corey," coach Jay Wright said. "So we still ran our stuff; we just did it later in the clock, that's all. We usually don't like to do that."

    The Wildcats' situation was exasperated when Fisher picked up his third foul with 1:35 to play in the first half. He finished with only seven points.

    But Villanova managed to stay close behind Maalik Wayns, who had 23 of his career-high 27 points in the second half.

    "I knew I had to be aggressive on offense," said Wayns, who made five 3-pointers over the final 5:34 of the game. "Coach told me Stokes wasn't playing, so I had to step it up on offense."

    Wayns made a 3-pointer on Villanova's first possession after halftime as the Wildcats opened the second half with a 10-3 run to take a 28-25 lead. But Pitt responded with an 16-4 surge to grab the advantage for good.

    Pittsburgh trailed 30-29 before reeling off nine straight points, highlighted by a Woodall putback that caused Wright to use a timeout, sending the sellout Senior Day crowd of 12,843 -- fifth-largest on-campus crowd in Pitt history -- into a frenzy.

    "Coach (Jamie) Dixon was just stressing to use that we be patient," Gibbs said. "He said the more patient we'd be, the more options we'd have.

    "That's what got us the win, patience."

    The Panthers continued an alarming recent trend of starting slowly -- they've averaged only 24 1/2 points in the first half over the past four games -- but rebounded to beat Villanova at home for the eighth consecutive time.

    Pitt has won 24 of its last 25 games at the Petersen Events Center and has never lost to the Wildcats here. Villanova's most recent win in Pittsburgh was Feb. 17, 1996, at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse.

    The Panthers ended Villanova's 47-game winning streak at The Pavillion with a 57-54 win last month.

    The Big East title is Pitt's fourth overall and third outright crown.

    "(Winning the Big East) says a lot about us," Dixon said. "And I think even our losses were really close.

    "We won some close games early and finished it out, and we fought through some injuries and having guys out."

    The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the Big East in the preseason coaches' poll but will be seeded either 10th or 11th at the conference tournament, pending the result of the Marquette-Seton Hall game later Saturday.

    Wright said he isn't sure whether Stokes will be available for Villanova's first game in the conference tournament on Tuesday.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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