Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Late Rally Falls Short Panthers' Slide Reaches 6 in Row Marquette 62 Pitt 57

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Late Rally Falls Short Panthers' Slide Reaches 6 in Row Marquette 62 Pitt 57

Article excerpt

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Here is how bad things have become for Pitt's struggling basketball team. Its losing ways can now be measured by TRWY.

The Ralph Willard Years.

Uh-oh.

The Panthers lost their sixth consecutive game, 62-57, at Marquette Saturday afternoon to match the longest losing streak since Willard's Panthers endured a six-game slide in the 1997-98 season.

Pitt (11-7, 0-5) remains the only winless team in Big East Conference play, and it will only get tougher for the Panthers Monday night when they visit No. 1 Syracuse.

Coach Jamie Dixon made one lineup change that made a big difference, but it wasn't enough to get his team a victory. Dixon moved senior Ashton Gibbs to shooting guard and inserted redshirt freshman Isaiah Epps at point guard.

Gibbs responded with a career high 29 points and Epps was a calming influence for the most part, but the Panthers blew a halftime lead for the third time in this streak because they continue to turn the ball over against pressure.

"Turnovers let them back in the game," Gibbs said. "They took advantage of the turnovers."

Marquette forced Pitt into 17 turnovers, 10 in the second half when the Golden Eagles erased a five-point halftime deficit. Several came in a crucial stretch when Marquette seized control.

The Panthers had four turnovers in 60 seconds, three by Lamar Patterson, and a 41-38 lead quickly became a 45-41 deficit with 10:02 remaining. It was the first time Marquette had led, and the Golden Eagles then stopped a late rally to keep the Panthers reeling.

"Turnovers have been a problem," Dixon said. "We've tried to get better at it. Those really cost us."

Nasir Robinson had seven turnovers and Patterson had four.

Patterson's turnovers all came in a three-minute stretch when the Golden Eagles went on a 13-0 run that turned the game around.

The Panthers saw a five-point lead turn into an eight-point deficit in a 41/2-minute span the Panthers wish they had back. Marquette had 18 points off Pitt turnovers, and eight came in that crucial stretch.

Pitt scrapped back and made things interesting when Gibbs made a 3-pointer to make it 60-57 with 54 seconds remaining.

But on Marquette's next possession, Davante Gardner grabbed an offensive rebound over Robinson, then made two free throws to put the game out of reach. …

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