Dec. 29, 2004
PITTSBURGH – Chevon Troutman’s 20 points included the go-ahead basket with 2:37 remaining after No. 10 Pittsburgh blew a nine-point lead, then rallied to beat stubborn South Carolina 72-68 on Wednesday night.
Troutman and freshman Ronald Ramon each scored five points in a 10-0 run midway through the second half that gave Pitt a 53-48 lead, but the Gamecocks (7-3) later tied it at 59 with a 10-1 run.
Pitt (10-0), in danger of its first non-conference home loss in five years, retook the lead on Troutman’s layup and never trailed again. Chris Taft scored the next five Pitt points on a dunk, a putback following three missed shots and a free throw to make it 66-60, and Carl Krauser’s six free throws in the final minute secured it.
Krauser’s final two free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining followed two by Tre Kelley that briefly made it 70-68.
Troutman had been in a scoring slump, with only 12 points combined in Pitt’s previous two games after averaging nearly 17 in five games before that. He also had 12 rebounds as Pitt held a 33-25 edge on the boards.
Krauser, coming off a career-high 31 points against Richmond, added 14 points and Taft had 12. Ramon was 3-of-6 on 3-pointers while scoring 11 points off the bench.
Carlos Powell and Josh Gonner each scored 15 points for South Carolina, which led by as many as five points in the first half. The Gamecocks’ final lead was 45-43 on Gonner’s 3-pointer before the 10-0 Pittsburgh run.
Pitt was 6-of-14 from 3-point range to the Gamecocks’ 2-of-11. South Carolina is one of the nation’s worst 3-point shooting teams, making fewer than 30 percent of its shots beyond the arc.
The Panthers, starting 10-0 for the second consecutive season under coach Jamie Dixon, won their 48th in a row at home against non-Big East opponents dating to a 64-60 loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 23, 1999. Pitt is 45-2 in non-conference games at all sites over the last four seasons.
The Gamecocks were coming off an overtime victory over South Carolina State, but nearly upset No. 2 Kansas on Dec. 18 before losing 64-60. Dixon emphasized that near-miss to his players in practice following the Panthers’ 69-60 win over Richmond on Thursday.
Pittsburgh is 43-1 at home since opening the Petersen Events Center two years ago, losing only to Syracuse last season. The Panthers had been 0-5 against South Carolina, although the schools hadn’t played since 1976.
AP Sports Writer