Pittsburgh Beats Duke to Stay Unbeaten
Friday, December 21st 2007, 7:43 am
By: News On 6
This is not how Pittsburgh wanted to stay undefeated. Levance Fields made a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left in overtime to give the 11th-ranked Panthers a 65-64 win over No. 6 Duke on Thursday night, minutes after his best friend on the team was taken off the court with what looked like a severe knee injury.
Mike Cook hurt his left leg a minute into the overtime near the baseline in front of the Pitt bench after he turned the ball over. He remained on the court for several minutes then was helped to the locker room without the leg ever touching the ground.
``This is the most bittersweet night in my coaching career,'' Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon said. ``I don't think it's good for Mike. We'll do what's best for him.
``I told them at the timeout with 16 seconds left to win this one for Mike and then his best friend hits the winning shot after we come back the way we did. I am so proud of my kids.''
Cook had a brace on his left leg when he came out of the locker room and was on crutches after the game. A school spokesman said Cook was being taken to a hospital for evaluation and a decision on when he would return to Pittsburgh would be made then.
In Thursday night's other Top 25 games, No. 7 Washington State beat The Citadel 67-45; No. 15 Clemson beat Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 90-73; No. 18 Gonzaga lost to Oklahoma 72-68; and No. 22 Miami beat North Florida 85-63.
After Fields' shot gave Pittsburgh (11-0) the lead, Duke's Jon Scheyer took a running 3 and was able to grab the rebound and get off a final shot but it was another miss for the Blue Devils (10-1).
``I tried to go and get the ball and when I did and turned I was surprised my man was right there and I rushed the shot,'' Scheyer said. ``I went after it and got off a good shot and I thought it was good but I couldn't see it and then I heard the reaction from the fans.''
The loss snapped Duke's 36-game winning streak in December. The Blue Devils' last loss in the 12th month was 84-83 to Stanford on Dec. 21, 2000.
Both teams were used to playing in Madison Square Garden. Pitt is 18-8 there since 2001-02 and Duke is 15-6 in the Garden under coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils had won their past seven in the building.
It looked like Duke's winning streaks in the month and New York City would remain intact as the Blue Devils took a 16-point lead in the first half and were still up 39-26 with 16:31 left in regulation.
But Pittsburgh picked up its rebounding and defense in the second half and overtime and cut back on the turnovers. After being even on the boards at 19 at halftime, the Panthers finished with a 53-39 rebound advantage and the 6-foot-7, 265-pound DeJuan Blair was the big difference before Fields' shot.
``I needed a little space and I got the space and it went in,'' Fields said. ``When Mike went down it brought tears to my eyes. It's his last year and he can't go out like that. I knew I had committed the turnovers and I knew I had to make up for it. I talk about game-winners all the time. I had to hit it for my teammates, myself and the city of Pittsburgh.''
No. 7 Washington St. 67, The Citadel 45
Aron Baynes scored 16 points, Daven Harmeling added 11 off the bench, and the Cougars improved to 10-0 for the first time in 16 years with another win in Seattle.
Cowgill added nine points for the Cougars, who have just two more nonconference games _ at Idaho State and against North Carolina A&T _ before opening Pac-10 play back in Seattle on Jan. 5 against rival Washington.
The Citadel (4-6) became yet another exhibit for just how good the Cougars' defense can be. Kevin Durant, the Seattle SuperSonics' rookie sensation, sat in the first row and nodded with approval at the defensive effort.
Zach Urbanus and Cameron Wells both scored 14 to lead The Citadel, which shot just 33 percent.
No. 15 Clemson 90, Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 73
In Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, K.C. Rivers had 21 points and 11 rebounds to help the Tigers beat their Division II opponent.
Rivers, 9-for-12 from the floor, scored eight consecutive points in the second half to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, 78-51.
Terrence Oglesby also had 21 points for Clemson (9-0), and Raymond Sykes and Trevor Booker added 11 points each.
Steven Ramirez led Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (1-11) with 21 points and seven assists.
Oklahoma 72, No. 18 Gonzaga 68
In Oklahoma City, Longar Longar scored 16 points, including the go-ahead basket, and Oklahoma overcame a scintillating performance by Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo.
For a time, it appeared Pargo would will Gonzaga (9-3) to victory with the most impressive performance of his career, but he ran dry with just enough time for Oklahoma (9-3) to rally.
Griffin and Tony Crocker each scored 15 points, and Griffin had 14 rebounds as Oklahoma won its second straight game after a disappointing loss to Stephen F. Austin.
No. 22 Miami 85, North Florida 63
In Coral Gables, Fla., Jack McClinton and Dwayne Collins each scored 13 points to lead the Hurricanes to their 11th straight win to start the season.
Miami is three shy of the Hurricanes' previous best, to start the 2001-02 season.
Tom Hammonds scored 13 points for North Florida (1-9). For the Ospreys, it was their second consecutive defeat in a two-game South Florida trip after losing at Florida Atlantic 70-64 on Tuesday.