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Updated: Saturday, February 15, 2003 4:38 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Seton Hall 73, (7) Pittsburgh 61
PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
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SETON HALL PIRATES
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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Andre Barrett and Andre Sweet each scored 17 points as Seton Hall used a balanced attack to win its season-high fifth straight game, a 73-61 victory over No. 7 Pittsburgh in a Big East Conference matchup.

John Allen contributed 14 points and Marcus Toney-El added 13 for Seton Hall (12-9, 6-4 Big East East), which has won seven of its last nine games. The Pirates' recent surge has pushed them into contention for a possible NCAA Tournament at-large berth - they are tied with Connecticut for the fifth-best record in the league.

"I have to give our guys a ton of credit," Seton Hall coach Louis Orr said. "We played with a lot of heart. We came out and set the tone early. It was important for us to get off to a good start. We battled a lot of adversity this week. A number of guys missed practice because of colds and injuries."

Allen, Toney-El and freshman Kelly Whitney each grabbed six rebounds as the Pirates held a 38-29 advantage on the boards.

Sweet was limited to two points in the first half, but scored eight in a key 10-3 spurt that gave the Pirates a 49-41 lead when he made two free throws with 11:23 to play.

Sweet made 10-of-13 foul shots and Seton Hall was 81 percent (34-of-42) from the line, while Pittsburgh was just 71 percent (17-of-24).

"We are clicking on everything right now, offensively and defensively," Sweet said. "Our defense was able to give us the lead and as the second half went on, we played it up even more."

Jaron Brown scored 14 points and reserve Chevy Troutman added 12 for Pittsburgh (17-3, 7-3 Big East West), which fell to 4-4 on the road.

"You have to credit Seton Hall, this is a good basketball team and I knew that coming in," Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland said. "They just beat Notre Dame and have won five a row. They have some good players and are very well coached. They are coming on strong and are dangerous."

Pittsburgh's starting guards Brandin Knight and Julius Page were just 4-of-21 from the floor. Knight, a New Jersey native and high school teammate of Toney-El, scored all of his 11 points in the second half.

The 6-3 Page, who was bothered by an ankle injury and did not practice this week, could not capitalize on his size advantage over the 5-10 Barrett.

"I just wanted to stay in front of him and contain," Barrett said. "I wanted to make him take shots over me. It gives us a lot of confidence. We are starting to get things together now."

Page missed 6-of-7 shots, with all but one coming from behind the arc.

"When you look at his line, he only had one shot inside three," Howland said. "We need to look to him to go to the basket more and look to the line more. He has too look to be more aggressive and take more shots."

Page agreed with his coach.

"Myself in particular, I took too many 3-pointers," he said. "I had some looks but the shots did not go down. Brandin didn't attack as much as he wanted as well."

Donatas Zavackas had 10 points and six boards, but fouled out along with Ontario Lett and Troutman.

The Pirates raced to an 11-2 lead on a fast-break layup by Barrett just under three minutes into the contest. Seton Hall's biggest lead was 29-14 on a pair of free throws by Sweet 7:51 before halftime. Troutman scored five points as the Panthers closed the first half with a 14-3 run.

Seton Hall opened the game by making 11-of-14 shots, but missed 14 in a row before Toney-El converted a three-point play for a 39-35 lead with 15:47 to go.

Pittsburgh opened the second half with a 7-2 burst to take its only lead, 35-34, when Brown hit a layup with 16:38 to play. Toney-El responded with two free throws 24 seconds later and Knight's first basket of the game, a 3-pointer, closed the deficit to 39-38, with 15:28 remaining.

"When we lost the lead, last year we would rush, this year it's not a bad thing we are playing smarter," Barrett said. "We always knew we could compete, we just had to go and do it."

"We can't use the start of the game as an excuse because we had the lead and then lost the lead again," Page said.


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