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Updated: Sunday, March 2, 2003 9:25 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(8) Pittsburgh 71, (24) Connecticut 67
CONNECTICUT HUSKIES
Connecticut Huskies
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PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
Pittsburgh Panthers
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PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Julius Page scored 17 points and Ontario Lett added 16 as No. 8 Pittsburgh won its 21st straight home game with a 71-67 Big East Conference victory over No. 24 Connecticut.

In a rematch of last season's conference championship game, the Panthers (21-4, 11-3 Big East West) recorded their 13th straight win against Big East foes and beat the Huskies for the first time since March 5, 1997.

"We were able to show maturity and fight back," Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland said. "In the second half, we were able to play out of transition better. ... We got inside more and got to the line."

Pittsburgh guard Brandin Knight, just a 52 percent free-throw shooter, hit 3-of-4 from the line in the final minute to give the Panthers a 70-67 edge.

Connecticut guard Ben Gordon and freshman swingman Rashad Anderson each missed 3-pointers before Page collected the rebound and was fouled.

"Ben Gordon didn't have a good game. He was 4-of-13 from the floor," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "Emeka (Okafor) had two quick fouls, but there still isn't any excuse for our loss. Pitt utilizes what they have as a team."

Page, who reached 1,000 career points with a shot from the arc just 31 seconds into the contest, hit a free throw with 4.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

"I'm just playing here," Page said. "I take my shots, but if we needed shots at a time, I just took it upon myself to make them."

Tony Robertson paced Connecticut with 15 points. But the Huskies (18-7, 9-5 East) had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Okafor had 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocks but picked up those early fouls.

"The game changed when I had to take Emeka out," Calhoun said. "When he wasn't in the game, there weren't any blocked shots being made and less rebounds were caught."

The Panthers improved to 15-0 in their first season at the Petersen Events Center.

Connecticut posted a thrilling 74-65 double-overtime victory over Pittsburgh in last year's Big East title game. Huskies guard Taliek Brown sank 30-footer that beat the shot clock and gave UConn a 69-64 lead with 34 seconds left.


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