12:10 PM ET, March 23, 2003
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON (AP) -- Pittsburgh has a Steel Curtain defense again, thanks to coach Ben Howland.His Panthers completely wore down Indiana in a 74-52 victory Sunday to reach the round of 16 for the second consecutive year.Pitt didn't have much basketball tradition before Howland arrived, so he had to find his inspiration elsewhere in the city's sporting lore.
"Pittsburgh Steelers basketball," Howland called it after becoming the school's most successful NCAA Tournament coach with four wins."We're not tall. We're burly. We want kids that are tough. That's what wins."Jaron Brown scored 20 points, and Brandin Knight added 17 points and seven assists for second-seeded Pittsburgh, which will play No. 3 seed Marquette in the Midwest Regional semifinals Thursday in Minneapolis.Knight also had five steals, and Chevon Troutman grabbed nine rebounds to go with his 10 points as the Panthers (28-4) did most of their damage on defense.Drawing on the Steel Curtain defense that brought the city four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, Howland used a bulky frontcourt rotation of Ontario Lett, Donatas Zavackas and Troutman.Listed at an average of 6-foot-7 and 246 pounds -- but probably heavier -- they pushed around Indiana's taller but spindly George Leach (6-foot-11, 240) and Jeff Newton (6-9, 225).Indiana (21-13) trailed by one before going scoreless for the last 6:33 of the first half, committing five turnovers during that span while missing five shots -- mostly long, contested 3-point attempts. At the same time, Brown had a blocked shot and a 3-pointer, and Knight added two steals and a pair of 3s to give Pitt a 31-21 halftime lead.
Brandin Knight drove past the Hoosiers for 17 points.
|Dick Vitale: How about the physical play in the frontcourt for Pittsburgh! Everybody talks about the Panthers' great guard duo of Brandin Knight and Julius Page, but let me tell you, this team has so many other weapons. More|
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