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January 4, 2007

No. 10 Pitt beats Syracuse in Big East opener

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -Levance Fields scored a career-high 24 points and No. 10 Pittsburgh beat Syracuse 74-66 on Thursday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

The game was a rematch of the final of the Big East tournament last season, which the Orange won 65-61 at Madison Square Garden. The Panthers (13-2) have won nine of the last 12 meetings with Syracuse (11-4) and three of the last four in the Carrier Dome.

Aaron Gray had nine points and nine rebounds for Pitt, while Ronald Ramon had 12 points, Antonio Graves nine and Mike Cook eight.

Eric Devendorf had 17 points and Darryl Watkins added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Orange, who lost at home for the third time this season.

Demetris Nichols, who had scored 20 or more points in six straight games for Syracuse, was 4-of-15 from the field, 1-for-5 on 3-pointers, and finished with 11 points.

Terrence Roberts had six points for Syracuse in his first appearance since spraining his left knee 2 1/2 games ago and had to leave this game when his head hit the floor hard early in the second half after an elbow from Levon Kendall. Roberts' mouth was bloodied in the exchange and he received stitches in the locker room before returning to the bench midway through the period.

Gray's turnaround jumper in the lane in the opening minute of the second half gave the Panthers their first lead of the game. Graves followed with a 3 from the left corner and a steal and layup by Fields made it 40-34 with 18:49 to play.

For more coverage of Syracuse, visit CuseConfedential.com; for more on Pittsburgh, visit PantherLair.com.



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