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Pitt's dominance in paint keys rally

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Pittsburgh had a solid Plan B for West Virginia in the absence of injured guard Ashton Gibbs: spread the ball around inside to the Panthers' other playmakers.

The fourth-ranked Panthers overcame an awful start by shooting 61 percent from the field in the second half and beat No. 25 West Virginia 71-66 on Monday night.

Without Gibbs, the Panthers' leading scorer (16.3) who is out as long as two weeks with a left knee injury, Pittsburgh had little outside shooting presence, and it didn't matter. The Panthers, who lead the nation in rebounding margin, outrebounded West Virginia 40-28 on the strength of 18 offensive boards.

"We really focused on rebounding," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We won with our rebounding and defense, and that's what we set out to do."

The Panthers pounded the ball inside, scoring 42 in the paint against a Mountaineers defense that wore down.

Nasir Robinson had 15 points, Gary McGhee 13, Travon Woodall 12 and Brad Wanamaker 11 for Pitt (22-2, 10-1 Big East).

"Ashton is a good player and a great shotmaker for us, and without him, we just wanted to come out and play our game," Wanamaker said. "We didn't want to try and fill in his shoes. We just wanted to stay with Pitt basketball and get the guys that sub in to play their game."

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had pointed to this game as a possible jump start to a solid final month of the Big East race. Instead, the Mountaineers' shortcomings showed, and West Virginia (15-8, 6-5) has now lost three of five.

"They beat us to death on the offensive glass and drove it where they wanted to drive it," Huggins said.

NO. 2 KANSAS 103, NO. 19 MISSOURI 86: Marcus Morris had 22 points and reserve Mario Little added 17 and sparked a second-half charge for the Jayhawks (23-1, 8-1 Big 12), who beat their archrivals at home for the 12th straight time. The Tigers (18-6, 4-5) dropped to 0-5 in conference road games.

OKLAHOMA ST.: Starting forward Darrell Williams was suspended after he was charged with four felony counts alleging he inappropriately touched two women without their consent.

MISSISSIPPI ST.: Coach Rick Stansbury said guard Ravern Johnson, the team's leading scorer, has been suspended indefinitely for violating the school's class attendance policy.

TENNESSEE: Freshman guard Jordan McRae was reinstated after serving a two-week suspension for a violation of team conduct rules.

WYOMING: Coach Heath Schroyer was fired after going 49-68 in 31/2 seasons.

AP POLL: Florida moved back in at No. 17, and Temple returned at 24th. Minnesota and Washington dropped out. Ohio State remained a unanimous No. 1.


NO. 19 FSU 78, UVA 74: Cierra Bravard had 22 points and nine rebounds as the visiting Seminoles (18-5, 6-2 ACC) withstood a furious rally. FSU opened the second half with a 14-4 burst, but the Cavaliers went on a 21-7 run to make it close.

NO. 4 TENN. 73, NO. 15 KENTUCKY 67: Shekinna Stricklen had 20 points for the visiting Vols (22-2, 10-0 SEC), who won their 13th straight despite turning it over 24 times.

NO. 13 UNC 62, NO. 5 DUKE 60: Waltiea Rolle had the go-ahead three-point play with 3:20 left and blocked Chelsea Gray's shot on the final play to lift the host Tar Heels (21-3, 7-2 ACC). Gray had a season-high 20 points to lead the Blue Devils (21-2, 7-1).

AP POLL: FSU remained at No. 19, and Miami fell from 18th to 20th. No. 2 UConn moved within eight points of Baylor.


BC EYES USF ASSISTANT: Boston College is considering USF quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas for its vacant offensive coordinator position. Vaas, 58, has spoken with the Eagles, who are looking to replace retired Gary Tranquill. According to the Boston Globe, Vikings quarterback coach Kevin Rogers is a leading candidate.

THORPE AWARD: LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson received the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football.

ALABAMA: Mike Groh, a former Virginia quarterback and assistant coach, was named wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.

GEORGIA: Will Friend, a former graduate assistant with the Bulldogs, is their new offensive line coach.

MICHIGAN: New coach Brady Hoke hired Curt Mallory as secondary coach and Jerry Montgomery to coach the defensive line, completing his staff.

OHIO ST.: Offensive line recruit Chris Carter of Cleveland won't face criminal charges stemming from an allegation he fondled a girl while pretending to measure her for an ROTC uniform.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Pitt's dominance in paint keys rally 02/07/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 7, 2011 11:53pm]
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