February 15, 2005

No. 17 Pitt Upsets No. 9 Syracuse 68-64

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Carl Krauser hit a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left and Chevon Troutman made four free throws in the final seconds to lead No. 17 Pittsburgh past No. 9 Syracuse 68-64 on Monday night.

It was the second straight home loss after a 16-game winning streak at the Carrier Dome for Syracuse (22-4, 9-3 Big East), which was coming off its best game of the season, a 90-75 win at No. 25 Villanova.

Pittsburgh (18-4, 8-3) won for the sixth time in seven games and completed a season sweep of the Orange.

Troutman was 16-for-20 from the free throw line and finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Krauser had 15 points and five assists, and Chris Taft had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Pitt, which had a 41-32 rebound advantage.

Louie McCroskey, who lost his starting job two games ago, scored a career-high 18 points for the Orange, while Gerry McNamara had 16 points and 10 assists, and Hakim Warrick, plagued by foul trouble, matched his season-low with 12 points. Josh Pace, who had 21 points against Villanova, did not score and took only two shots.

Syracuse, which entered the game shooting 50 percent from the field, hit 37.7 percent Monday.

After Krauser's three-point play moved Pittsburgh within 48-47 midway through the second half, Syracuse went on a 9-2 run and appeared headed for a tough victory. A steal and layup by McNamara put the Orange up 57-49 with 7:45 left.

But Krauser hit two 3s and Troutman nailed a curling hook past Syracuse center Craig Forth to tie it at 60 with 4:31 to go.

After Krauser's fourth 3 of the game, Forth's rebound basket had Syracuse within 64-62 with 35 seconds left. After Troutman made two foul shots, Warrick's two-handed dunk kept the Orange within a basket.

Troutman, a career 61 percent shooter from the line, has excelled this season, hitting 75 percent in conference play. He made his final two Monday with 11 seconds left and McNamara missed a long 3 at the buzzer as the Panthers celebrated.

The Panthers led 29-28 at halftime, mainly because of their rebounding prowess. They finished the half with a 26-14 edge on the boards, including 10 offensive, and had 13 second-chance points. Syracuse scored 16 points off the 13 turnovers it forced.

Texas Tech Shocks No. 2 Kansas 80-79, 2OT

Darryl Dora hit a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds remaining in the second overtime to give Texas Tech an 80-79 victory over No. 2 Kansas on Monday night, the Jayhawks' first conference loss this season.

Savannah State Goes 0-For-The-Season

Oh my. Savannah State went 0-for-the-season. The Tigers became just the second NCAA Division I school in a half-century to go through an entire season without a win, losing to Florida A&M 49-44 Monday night to finish 0-28.

Browns Housecleaning Continues With Garcia

Jeff Garcia didn't even get to celebrate his one-year anniversary with the Cleveland Browns. Less than 12 months after they signed the three-time Pro Bowler to fix their problems at quarterback, the Browns told Garcia on Monday that he was no longer needed.

Former major league pitcher Nellie Briles dies at 61

PITTSBURGH -- Big games never worried Nellie Briles.

Briles, who won two World Series titles during a 14-year career as a control pitcher, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack at 61, the Pittsburgh Pirates said. Briles was stricken during a Pirates alumni golf tournament in Orlando, Fla.

Briles went 129-112 during a career spent mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pirates. He played on five pennant- or division-winning teams, going a combined 69-44 with two postseason victories during those seasons.

``I always felt that if it was a tough game, my teammates wanted me on the mound,'' Briles once said.

Briles, who was influenced by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson's fierce attitude after joining the Cardinals in 1965, went 61-54 with the Cardinals from 1965-70, including a 19-11 record in 1968. He was traded to the Pirates, where he was 36-28 over the next three seasons before later pitching for Kansas City, Texas and Baltimore in career lasting from 1965-78.

Briles was a broadcaster with the Pirates, Mariners and USA Network's major league game of the week from 1979-85 before being hired as the Pirates' director of corporate projects in 1986.

``Nellie was a valuable member of the Pirates organization for many years,'' Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said.

Raised in Chico, Calif., Briles pitched at Santa Clara University and made his major league debut at 22 in September 1965, losing a 1-0 decision to the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax.

Briles was 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA in 1967. He won nine consecutive starts after Gibson's leg was broken by Roberto Clemente's line drive, before beating Boston 5-2 in Game 3 of the World Series.

Briles also played a key role in Pittsburgh's 1971 title run by pitching a two-hit shutout in World Series Game 5 against Baltimore. Briles allowed only two singles and no Orioles runner reached second base in a 4-0 victory.

``A lot of people in baseball told me it was the best game ever pitched in the World Series, except for Don Larsen's perfect game,'' said Briles, who was 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in three career World Series starts. ``I faced only 29 batters. It was the best game I ever pitched.''

Orioles manager Earl Weaver later called Game 5 the pivotal game of the series, though the Pirates needed Steve Blass' four-hitter to win Game 7 in Baltimore, 2-1.

Briles' best regular-season start came a year later, a one-hit shutout to beat Hall of Famer Juan Marichal and the Giants 1-0. Briles lost a perfect game on Ken Henderson's infield single.

Briles retired at 34, four years after a knee injury sustained with the Royals hurt his pitching for the rest of his career. The following season, he was a TV broadcaster for the 1979 World Series champion Pirates.

Briles is survived by his wife, Ginger, four children and several grandchildren.

Funeral services will be in Greensburg this week.

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