No. 10 Pittsburgh 71, Seton Hall 68

Tuesday, February 20th 2007, 7:44 am
By: News On 6

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Pittsburgh got the balanced effort it needed with leading scorer and rebounder Aaron Gray sitting out for the first time this season.

Levance Fields scored 15 points, Levon Kendall had 14 points and eight rebounds and Sam Young added 11 points to help the short-handed and 10th-ranked Panthers hold off Seton Hall 71-68 Monday night.

The 7-foot Gray, who sprained his left ankle in the final minute of a win over Washington on Saturday, was on the bench in warmups with a protective boot on his foot.

``He doesn't play 40 minutes a game,'' Kendall said. ``It's not like we haven't had that look before. Obviously it's a different view out of there the whole game. We were prepared for it. We were able to adjust and make up for his absence.''

Kendall, who came in averaging 5.0 points and 25.7 minutes, shot 6-for-8 from the field in 33 minutes.

``I play the 5 whenever he's out of the game,'' he said. ``All year I've been doing that, so it wasn't really a big thing for me. We had to change our focus, we had to rebound really well. We knew we had to do a good job of team rebounding.''

Fields scored all his points in the second half, including seven in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help the Panthers improve to 6-0 on the road in conference play.

``I don't know if there are any other teams in the country that are 6-0 in conference games on the road,'' Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. ``It's a great sign of our decision making and recognition of what other teams are trying to do to us.

``(Fields) was key and really hit some big shots. He got some good screens and got some good looks.''

In the other Top 25 games Monday night, it was: No. 6 Kansas 71, Kansas State 62; No. 15 Butler 68, Wisconsin-Green Bay 58; and No. 16 Marquette 80, Villanova 67.

Pittsburgh won for the seventh time in eight games overall, including it's second straight since a 66-53 home loss to Louisville on Feb. 12. The victory was the 100th for Dixon (100-26), who reached the milestone faster than any coach in school history.

Eugene Harvey scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half, Jamar Nutter had 19 and Brian Laing added 12 points and eight rebounds for Seton Hall (12-14, 3-10). The Pirates have lost five straight, eight of nine and eight straight conference games.

``I thought our kids came out very ready to win the game, regardless of whether Aaron Gray played or not,'' Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. ``We've been playing our best basketball of late, but we came up short. I thought we'd get over the hump tonight.''

The Pirates, who fell behind by 14 with 5 1/2 minutes to go, pulled to 64-61 on Paul Gause's tip-in with 1:20 remaining.

``I thought we were destined to win,'' Gonzalez said. ``Our pressure really bothered them down the stretch. They just made some plays, they got some great breaks that went their way and sometimes that happens with winning teams.''

Fields, who made five free throws in the final minute, hit two to push Pitt's lead to 67-61 with 49 seconds left. After Harvey's layup pulled Seton Hall to within three with 16 seconds remaining, Fields made two more from the line less than a second later.

Nutter then hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to pull the Pirates to 70-68 with about 5 seconds remaining, and Fields made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a three-point game. Nutter's desperation 3 from inside half court at the buzzer bounced high off the rim.

No. 16 Marquette 80, Villanova 67

At Milwaukee, Freshman Lazar Hayward scored a career-high 18 points to lead Marquette over Villanova.

Dominic James added 18 points and Wesley Matthews had 16 points for the Golden Eagles (22-7, 9-5 Big East), who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Scottie Reynolds scored 25 points for Villanova (18-9, 6-7), which lost its second straight game. Curtis Sumpter added 14 points. The Wildcats' last four losses have come against Top 25 teams.

No. 6 Kansas 71, Kansas State 62

At Manhattan, Kan., freshman reserve Sherron Collins scored 20 points and led a key second-half run, and Kansas beat Kansas State to extend its winning streak in Manhattan to 24 games.

Mario Chalmers added 17 points, Darrell Arthur had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Brandon Rush finished with 11 points for Kansas (24-4, 11-2 Big 12), which has never lost in Bramlage Coliseum since it opened for the 1988-89 season. The Jayhawks' last lost in Manhattan 58-57 on Jan. 29, 1983, in Ahearn Fieldhouse.

Cartier Martin led Kansas State (19-9, 8-5) with 19 points. Clent Stewart added 13 points and Lance Harris had 10.

No. 15 Butler 68, Wisconsin-Green Bay 58

At Green Bay, Wis., A.J. Graves scored 20 points and Brandon Crone had 17 to lift Butler over Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Mike Green added 13 points and Pete Campbell 11 for the Bulldogs (25-4, 12-2 Horizon League), who had lost two of their last three.

Mike Schachtner scored 13 points for Green Bay (16-13, 7-8), which had won four of its previous five, but lost its 11th straight game against a Top-25 opponent after hitting just one field goal in the final 5:47. Terry Evans and Ryan Tillema added 11 points apiece.