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February 15, 2008It's rare to have a Friday night game in the Big East. It's more rare to see Pitt have as rough an outing as they had tonight.
A bad shooting night and a significant difference in turnovers proved to be the difference, as Pitt lost at Marquette 72-54. The Panthers drop to 19-6 overall and 7-5 in the Big East Conference. Marquette improves to 18-6, 8-5 in the Big East.
Marquette had big games from Ousmane Barro, David Cubillan and Jerel McNeal, while no Panther player could get in any kind of rhythm. McNeal led the Golden Eagles with 17. Barro, who averaged 5.4 points a game entering the game, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Pitt kept it close in the first half, thank to good shot selection. It remained a back-and-forth game until the Panthers went scoreless for a five-minute span. On top of that, the Golden Eagles went on a 12-4 run to close the half.
The Golden Eagles entered the game averaging eight three-pointers a game. Early on, they were on a drought, connecting on just one of their first six three-pointers. Dan Fitzgerald hit one, to put Marquette up 27-20. Dave Cubillan later hit a three, that put the Golden Eagles up 33-24. Pitt had one more chance to close the gap, but Fields missed a three-pointer.
By the time the second half started, Marquette got into more of a rhythm with their shots. Pitt went on a seven-minute scoring drought, in which time the Golden Eagles went on a 17-0 run.
Pitt turned the ball over 15 times, to Marquette's seven turnovers. In addition to that, Marquette outscored the Panthers 26-6 in the paint, while leading rebounders Sam Young and DeJuan Blair were held to just five rebounds apiece.
Young was the lone Panther who had a productive offensive night, though most of his points came late in the second half, as the Golden Eagles built a 20-point lead. He finished the game with 18 points. Keith Benjamin added seven points.
Levance Fields, making his first start in nearly two months, was just 1-of-7 from the field, with four assists and a rebound.
The Panthers have a six-day layoff, as they travel to Notre Dame (18-5, 8-3) on Thursday night. The Irish are led by Big East leading scorer Luke Harangody.
Tony Greco can be contacted at email@example.com..