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'Cuse first visitor to leap past Pitt

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- For more than 41 minutes, Pittsburgh defensive
ace Julius Page never left Syracuse's Gerry McNamara uncovered.
Every dribble, every pass, every look at the basket, Page was right
there.

The one time Page gambled and left him alone, McNamara hit the
shot that effectively ended Pitt's 25½-month home-court winning
streak and may cost the Panthers a No. 1 seed in the Big East and
NCAA tournaments.

McNamara, held scoreless by No. 3 Pittsburgh for the equivalent
of a game and a half, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and two key free
throws in overtime and Syracuse (19-6, 9-5) halted the Panthers'
40-game home winning streak with a 49-46 upset Sunday.

Pitt's streak was the second longest in Division I to Duke's
41-game run. The Panthers had been 34-0 at home since opening the
Petersen Events Center last season and hadn't lost in Pittsburgh
since being surprised by Notre Dame 56-53 on Jan. 12, 2002, at
Fitzgerald Field House.

"We didn't get it done and our guys are very disappointed,"
said coach Jamie Dixon, a loser at home for the first time. "It
was an unbelievable streak, and we'll just have to start another
one."

Hakim Warrick scored 17 points for the defending national
champion Orangemen, who tied Seton Hall for fourth place in the Big
East. The top four teams receive a first-round bye, which coach Jim
Boeheim says is almost a necessity to win the tournament.

Pitt (25-3, 11-3), confused and ineffective the entire game as
the Orangemen constantly gave the Panthers different looks out of
their 2-3 zone defense, dropped into a first-place tie with
Connecticut and Providence heading into Tuesday's road game against
the Friars.

While Syracuse's Josh Pace said ending the streak didn't mean as
much to Syracuse as getting a quality win for its NCAA seeding, the
loss was a big deal to Pitt. The Panthers shot a terrible 30.9
percent and, for the first time since opening their new arena, were
pushed around at home.

That troubled Page, who blamed himself for leaving McNamara
uncovered on the 3-pointer that put Syracuse up 47-44 with 3:52
remaining, the only shot McNamara made in nine attempts.

"I went to double (on Warrick) and my man made a 3," Page
said. "I didn't leave him the whole game and ... I hate losing.
I'm a sore loser. I took a gamble, and I paid for it."

After McNamara's jumper, there was no more scoring except for
Chris Taft's two free throws until McNamara's two foul shots with
27 seconds to go. McNamara went 6-for-6 from the line, just as he
did down the stretch Monday in Syracuse's 64-59 victory over
Villanova.

Jaron Brown and Mark McCarroll both missed hurried 3-point
attempts in the final seconds as Pitt failed to tie it and force a
second overtime. It was the second straight poorly played game by
Pitt, which rallied from 13 points down to beat Georgetown 68-58
Tuesday.

"Pitt is the best team in the country from what we've seen,"
McNamara said. "Pitt and UConn are such good teams, but we feel
like we can play with these teams. We just had to go out and do
it."

Syracuse avenged a 66-45 loss to Pitt at the Carrier Dome on
Jan. 24 that saw the Orange held to their lowest point total in 35
years.

"I think all the guys were pumped up being that they beat us so
bad at home," said Pace, who scored 13 points. "We just wanted to
come in and be aggressive against them."

This time, in a physical, contest-every-possession game, it was
Syracuse that did the pushing around and dictated the tempo, never
trailing after McNamara's first points of the game -- two free
throws with 10:04 remaining that made it 34-32. McNamara was held
scoreless by Pitt in the second half Jan. 24 and for nearly 30
minutes Sunday.

Pitt trailed 42-38 when McNamara made two foul shots with 1:03
remaining, but Page's deep 3-pointer with 47 seconds left cut it to
one. After Warrick was called for walking with 15 seconds left,
Pitt's Chevon Troutman hit the front end of a one-and-one with 3.2
seconds left to tie it, but missed the second.

The Panthers had no one in double figures as its top four
scorers combined to go 12-for-43. Carl Krauser, held to nine points
before fouling out with 1:03 remaining in regulation, and Brown
were 3-for-12, Page was 3-for-10 and Taft was 3-for-9.

"When you've won 40 straight at home and are the No. 3 team in
the country, it's only human nature that you're going to have
something to think about when you're shooting long jumpers,"
Boeheim said.

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