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Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2005 12:42 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(18) Pittsburgh 76, (4) Syracuse 69

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh continues to make a habit of erasing big deficits in big games.

Carl Krauser scored all 19 of his points in the second half as No. 18 Pittsburgh rallied for a 76-69 victory over No. 4 Syracuse and handed the Orange their first loss in Big East Conference action.

"We had something to do out there," Krauser said. "We had to protect our house and play as a team."

For the second straight game, the Panthers (14-3, 4-2 Big East) spotted a highly ranked opponent a 17-point lead before emerging with a win.

One week ago, Pittsburgh trailed then-No. 16 Connecticut, 40-23, late in the first half. As a major blizzard swirled outside, Pittsburgh stormed back for a 76-66 victory. Chevy Troutman led the comeback with 25 of his 29 points in the second half.

In this one, the Orange (20-2, 7-1) raced to a 22-5 lead and took a 34-29 edge into the break.

This time it was Krauser's turn to lead the charge. The Panthers guard missed his first five shots of the contest before hitting back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half, the second tied the game, 38-38.

"Krauser made a couple long (3-pointers) and got Pitt back in the rhythm," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

Krauser added five points during an 18-2 run and spearheaded a defensive effort that held Syracuse without a basket for over eight minutes of the second half.

The Orange have a reputation of stifling opponents with their zone defense. But they were the ones shut down by Pittsburgh' zone.

"We thought we were going to use (the zone)," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. "We've known all year that the zone was going to be something we were going to use a little bit more."

After shooting 52 percent (12-of-23) in the first half, Syracuse made just 36 percent (10-of-28) of its shots after the break.

"Offensively, we just didn't play well enough to win a road game," Boeheim said. "Your defense can only be able to do so much. We didn't do a good job on the boards. We had too many turnovers. But our failure to attack their zone defense was really the problem."

Pittsburgh entered the game as the worst free-throw shooting (64 percent) team in the Big East but was 21-of-27 (78 percent) against Syracuse.

Krauser was 8-of-8 from the line in the final five minutes to finish the comeback.

"There's just too much time on the clock to count yourself out early," Troutman said. "We did a good job of keeping our head in the game and chipping away at their lead."

Troutman scored 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and freshman Keith Benjamin matched his season total with 10.

Gerry McNamara was 5-of-14 from 3-point range and scored 26 points for Syracuse, which had won 13 straight but missed out on a chance at matching the best 22-game start in school history.

The 1979-80 Syracuse team started 21-1.

Hakim Warrick added 25 but no other Orange player had more than four.

"The disappointing thing about this game was that we play against the zone every day in practice," Boeheim said. "It's our defense and we just didn't attack the defense well."


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