No. 24 Marquette Surprises No. 6 Pittsburgh, 77-74, in OT
Jan. 21, 2007
PITTSBURGH (AP) -Dominic James made two free throws after being fouled with less than a second remaining in overtime and No. 24 Marquette rallied after squandering an 11-point lead to surprise No. 6 Pittsburgh 77-74 on Sunday.
James scored 23 points and Dan Fitzgerald and Wesley Matthews had 14 each as the Golden Eagles (17-4, 4-2) improved to 4-1 against Top 25 teams and dealt Pitt (17-3, 5-1) only its second home court loss in 30 games the last two seasons.
Ronald Ramon scored 21 points and 7-footer Aaron Gray had 16 points and nine rebounds despite sitting out the final 3 1/2 minutes of regulation, when Pitt surged back after trailing 60-51 following Fitzgerald's two 3s. Marquette led 48-37 earlier in the half.
The Panthers, who had never led or been tied since holding a 10-9 lead, sent it to overtime on Ramon's two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining but still fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season. Pitt had been the last team unbeaten in Big East play.
Gray returned to score Pitt's first five points of overtime, and the Panthers led as late as 74-73 after Levon Kendall made two free throws with 1:35 remaining.
But Kendall's pass was stolen on Pitt's next possession and James, after searching frantically for an open lane to the basket for nearly 10 seconds, was fouled with three defenders around him with nine-tenths of a second remaining and made both foul shots. Matthews made two more free throws after being fouled on Pitt's inbounds play.
With Pitt down by nine, coach Jamie Dixon took Gray out with 3 1/2 minutes to play to put a quicker team on the floor. The move worked as the Panthers outscored Marquette 13-4 the rest of the second half to tie it on Ramon's free throws after James appeared to strip the ball from him.
Before that, Marquette quieted a loud, enthusiastic Pitt crowd by going on an 11-0 run over a five-minute span of the first half to seize an 18-10 lead, causing some fans to throw giveaway towels on the floor to protest several fouls they felt weren't called on Marquette.
James started the run with a drive through the lane, ended it with a 3-pointer and followed with another 3 to make it 21-12 after Kendall scored. James has scored 56 points as the Golden Eagles have won two of three from Pitt the last two seasons. The teams meet again March 3 in Milwaukee.
Gray scored six of the Panthers' first 10 points, only to become ineffective for long stretches after that as the Panthers had trouble getting the ball inside against Marquette's quick defenders. Pitt had 14 turnovers midway through the second half and finished with 18.
Gray started despite missing two days of practice with a wrist injury, apparently not serious, that occurred in a shootaround before he had 22 points and 19 rebounds Tuesday in a 63-54 decision over Connecticut.
Pitt went 5-of-18 from 3-point range (27.8 percent) despite Ramon's 4-for-6 day after entering the game shooting 46.3 percent beyond the arc in conference play. The Panthers had been 12-0 at home.
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