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Pittsburgh's Win as Ugly as It Gets

March 20, 2004|From Associated Press

Pittsburgh played its worst game of the season Friday night, barely managing to hold off scrappy Central Florida, 53-44, at Milwaukee in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Panthers (30-4) shot a season-worst 29.5% and had their fewest field goals (13) and assists (seven). Carl Krauser led Pittsburgh with 18 points and Chevon Troutman added 13 on five-for-five shooting, but the rest of the squad went four of 26.

Pittsburgh plays Wisconsin in a second-round East Rutherford Regional game on Sunday.

"It's definitely a wake-up call game," said Chris Taft, who had a career-high 16 rebounds, but only six points. "We can't play like that no more."

Central Florida (25-6) also struggled, shooting 30.8%.

When Roberto Morenti made a layup with 10:07 left, it gave the Golden Knights a 36-33 lead. But their sputtering offense fell apart from there, as they made only one field goal the rest of the game.

"We couldn't take care of all the details that got us that lead," said Dexter Lyons, who had 12 points for Central Florida. "We just got away from all of the things that we were doing."

Pittsburgh outscored Central Florida, 20-8, over the final 10 minutes. Julius Page, who was only two for 12 from the field, came through with a three-point basket, putting Pittsburgh ahead, 43-38.

Central Florida tried to make a comeback, but it didn't have the energy. Or the offense.

Wisconsin 76, Richmond 64 -- The Badgers got 18 points from Mike Wilkinson and a career-high 16 from Boo Wade in overcoming a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat the Spiders.

Wilkinson scored 12 points in the second half and Harris, who was held scoreless in the first half, finished with 11 points. It was the second consecutive year the Badgers overcame a 13-point deficit to win in the NCAA tournament. Last year, they defeated Tulsa, 61-60, in Spokane, Wash., after trailing, 58-45, with 3:36 remaining.

The Badgers (25-6) set a school record for victories in a season, but trailed, 42-29, with less than 14 minutes left.

Wisconsin started scoring in transition after 11th-seeded Richmond's furious defense backfired and sapped the Spiders (20-13).

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