Just 22 seconds after McNamara's 3-point attempt from the right
corner went in and out with Syracuse trailing Pittsburgh by a point
with just over a minute left, Krauser drained a long 3 from the top
of the key to send the Panthers to a 68-64 victory over
the ninth-ranked Orange on Monday night.
"It was one of those games you just want everything to go right
in crunch time," said Krauser, who hit three 3-pointers in the
final 6:33 to lead Pitt (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) back from an eight-point deficit. "I was
real happy that things did go right because we battled back from
hard adversity being here in the Carrier Dome. Honestly, I didn't
even know where I was when I shot the ball."
Pittsburgh (18-4, 8-3 Big East) won for the sixth time in seven
games and completed a season sweep of the Orange (22-4, 9-3), who
were coming off their best game of the season, a 90-75 win at No.
25 Villanova on Saturday.
In their first meeting just over two weeks ago, Syracuse raced
to a 22-5 lead midway through the first half and seemed poised for
a lopsided road victory. Krauser had other ideas. Held scoreless
for 23 minutes, he scored 19 points in the second half and the
Panthers won 76-69.
This comeback was even more impressive because it came very late
and in the not-so-friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, where
Syracuse has been nearly invincible in the past year. Connecticut
broke the Orange's 16-game home winning streak a week ago and Pitt
made it two straight.
"If I make that shot, we're in pretty good shape," said
McNamara, who had 16 points and 10 assists but missed 10 3-point
attempts. "We shouldn't be losing these games at home. We're
supposed to win them. It shouldn't have come down to the end. We
should have put them away. I guess it wasn't meant to be."
Chevon Troutman was 16-for-20 from the free throw line and
finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Krauser had 15 points and
five assists, and Chris Taft had 14 points and 10 rebounds for
Pitt, which had a 41-32 rebound advantage.
Louie McCroskey, who lost his starting job two games ago, scored
a career-high 18 points for the Orange, but Hakim Warrick was
plagued by foul trouble and matched his season-low with 12 points
and had only three rebounds, his season-low. Josh Pace, who had 21
points against Villanova, did not score and took only two shots.
Krauser hit his clutch 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to put
Pitt ahead 64-60 and Troutman converted four free throws to keep
Syracuse at bay.
"Syracuse doesn't finish games like we do when we play tough
down the stretch," Troutman said. "People think because we have a
couple of tough losses that we aren't any good anymore, but we've
been good for a long time."
The Orange seemed poised to avenge the loss at Pitt in late
January. After Krauser's three-point play moved the Panthers within
48-47 midway through the second half, Syracuse went on a 9-2 run. A
steal and layup by McNamara put the Orange up 57-49 with 7:45 left.
But Krauser hit two 3s and Troutman nailed a curling hook past
Syracuse center Craig Forth to tie it at 60 with 4:31 to go.
After Krauser's fourth 3 of the game, Forth's rebound basket had
Syracuse within 64-62 with 35 seconds left. Troutman then made two
foul shots, but Warrick's two-handed dunk kept the Orange within a
Troutman, a career 61 percent shooter from the line, has
excelled this season, hitting 75 percent in conference play. He
made his final two Monday with 11 seconds left and McNamara missed
a long 3 at the buzzer as the Panthers celebrated.
"It was bittersweet having my best game and not getting the
win," said McCroskey, who missed a wide-open 3-point attempt with
the score tied at 60 and failed to convert a baseline drive seconds
later. "You live and learn."
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