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No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers' second-half surge helps squash USF Bulls 66-50

USF forward Ron Anderson, right, fouls Pitt forward Dante Taylor, top, while also getting an elbow into Nasir Robinson.

Associated Press

USF forward Ron Anderson, right, fouls Pitt forward Dante Taylor, top, while also getting an elbow into Nasir Robinson.

TAMPA — For a half, it seemed as if Wednesday night's game against No. 4 Pittsburgh could have been the one in which USF played well enough for long enough to get the big upset that has slipped away from it late in games throughout this season.

But as soon as the second half started, Pittsburgh took care of any drama. It came out of halftime with a 19-5 run, a six-minute blitz that was all the separation it needed in a 66-50 win at the Sun Dome before an announced crowd of 4,640.

"I think we had a good game plan, came out and did the things we wanted to do to give ourselves a chance for 20 minutes," USF coach Stan Heath said. "We just didn't sustain it."

Bulls senior center Jarrid Famous, playing his final home game, had a double double by halftime with 11 points and 10 rebounds. But he and the rest of the Bulls (9-21, 3-14 Big East) went quiet after halftime.

Down 27-24 at the break, Pittsburgh's post players led the initial charge, and it hit 11 of its first 12 shots. Guard Ashton Gibbs hit three 3-pointers in a span of three minutes, putting Pittsburgh (26-4, 14-3) up 49-34 and out of reach.

"We just came up on the other end of the stick," Famous said. "They came out (of halftime) a different team. They came out more aggressive. I think that bothered us because we didn't come out and play the same way in the second half."

After outrebounding the Big East's best rebounding team in the first half, USF disappeared on the boards with just four rebounds in the first 12 minutes of the second half. The Bulls didn't hit their first 3-pointer until 7:36 was left in the game.

And for a Bulls team that had at least created a reputation of staying with elite teams until the closing minutes, this one didn't finish that way, getting out of hand for the final 10 minutes.

Pittsburgh, which can clinch the Big East regular-season title with a win Saturday against Villanova, gave coach Jamie Dixon his 214th career victory, the most for an NCAA coach in his eighth season. Nasir Robinson led the Panthers with 18 points while Augustus Gilchrist and Famous led USF with 15 each.

It likely was the Bulls' last game in the Sun Dome as they've known it.

Pending university and state approval later this month, USF has a $35 million renovation planned for the offseason and is seeking a title sponsor to put a name on the upgraded arena.

The Bulls close the regular season Saturday at No. 15 St. John's, then open play in the conference tournament Tuesday in New York.

No. 4 Pitt 66

USF 50

No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers' second-half surge helps squash USF Bulls 66-50 03/02/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:17am]
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