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Buzzer-beater lifts Pitt

Tough shot: Penn State’s Andrew Ott shoots on Draymond Green, left, and Raymar Morgan in Michigan State’s 67-65 win.

Associated Press

Tough shot: Penn State’s Andrew Ott shoots on Draymond Green, left, and Raymar Morgan in Michigan State’s 67-65 win.

PITTSBURGH — Ashton Gibbs' buzzer-beater from midway between midcourt and the 3-point line gave No. 17 Pittsburgh a 73-71 victory over Providence on Thursday.

The Panthers (23-7, 12-5) secured a bye into the quarterfinals of next week's Big East tournament and still can be as high as the No. 2 seed.

The Friars beat the then-No. 1 Panthers 81-73 at home last season. Thursday, they led 61-56 with about seven minutes left.

The lead changed hands five times in the final 4½ minutes, and Pitt took a 70-68 lead on Jermaine Dixon's two free throws with 40.3 seconds left. Sharaud Curry made two free throws five seconds later for Providence. And Brian McKenzie put the Friars up 71-70 by making one of two with 3.5 seconds left. But Gibbs took the inbounds pass and made the shot despite being closely guarded.

No. 11 Mich. St. 67, Penn St. 65: The host Spartans won despite blowing a 10-point second-half lead. Michigan State (23-7, 13-4) can earn a share of the Big Ten title for the second straight season with a victory against Michigan on Sunday. No. 6 Ohio State already has clinched a share of the title, and No. 7 Purdue can earn a share with a victory over Penn State on Saturday.

Maryland celebration prompts many arrests

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Police said they arrested 28 people when a celebration got out of hand after No. 22 Maryland beat No. 4 Duke on Wednesday.

Prince George's County police said about 1,500 people poured onto a main road near campus after the 79-72 victory. TV footage showed officers on horseback dispersing the crowd and police in riot gear patting down young men. Some threw snowballs and ice at police.

Police said 23 of those arrested were students. One officer and four of those arrested had minor injuries.

Georgetown: Top scorer Austin Freeman has been diagnosed with diabetes. The junior guard, who is averaging 17 points, missed Monday's loss to West Virginia and was limited in Saturday's loss to Notre Dame. It was originally believed he had only a stomach virus. Hoyas coach John Thompson said he is "100 percent" certain Freeman will return this season but wouldn't say when.

Women: Freshman star suspended for punch

DALLAS — Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 dunking freshman sensation for No. 14 Baylor, was suspended for two games for throwing a punch that broke an opposing player's nose. The NCAA mandates a one-game suspension for an ejection, and Bears coach Kim Mulkey added another.

Griner, 19, was an Internet sensation in high school with her dunks. Earlier this season, she joined Tennessee's Candace Parker as the only women to dunk more than once in a game.

Wednesday, she was battling Texas Tech's Jordan Barncastle for position. Barncastle spun and sent Griner lunging toward the baseline. As a foul was called on Barncastle, Griner took two steps toward her before throwing a roundhouse with her right hand.

In a statement released by Baylor, Griner apologized to "the Lady Raider team, my teammates and coaches, the fans and the game of women's basketball.

"I let my emotions get the best of me, and I am deeply sorry for my actions. I am committed to doing a better job of maintaining my composure in the future."

No. 22 Georgia 73, Alabama 66: Ashley Houts scored 18 for the Bulldogs in the first round of the SEC tournament in Duluth, Ga. Up 65-63, she got a steal, was fouled and made two free throws.

Florida ousted: Alli Smalley scored a career-high 29 to lead Auburn past Florida 74-61. Trailing 60-54 with 5:46 left, Florida (14-16) went 4:13 without a field goal. Steffi Sorensen led the Gators with 14 points.

ACC tournament: Stefanie Murphy scored 18 as Boston College beat Virginia Tech 62-49 in the first round in Greensboro, N.C. It earned a matchup with Florida State at 6 tonight.

USF: Center Jessica Lawson was named to the All-Big East first team and guard KaNeisha Saunders to the All-Freshmen team. Lawson is averaging a team-high 14.4 points and 10.7 rebounds. Saunders is averaging 9.5 points.

fast facts

Big East women's basketball tourney

When/where: Today-Tuesday; XL Center, Hartford, Conn.

Today's schedule: Pitt vs. Louisville, noon; Syracuse vs. Seton Hall, 2; Marquette vs. Villanova, 6; USF vs. Cincinnati, 8.

TV/radio: Sunday and Monday on ESPNU, Tuesday on ESPN; USF on 1010-AM.

Favorite: Connecticut (30-0) has won 69 in a row and on Sunday can match its NCAA record of 70 set from 2001-03.

Dark horse: No. 4 seed St. John's was the only Big East team to get within 15 of the Huskies, losing by 14.

What USF must do: With only eight players, the Bulls (at 6-10 the No. 11 seed) lack the depth for a long run. Beating Cincy is a start, and beating No. 6 seed Rutgers on Saturday would be a significant feat.

More information: bigeast.org.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Buzzer-beater lifts Pitt 03/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 12:18am]
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