Ramon, Young lead Pittsburgh past Wright StateMar 16, 2007 - 5:49 AM BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh show its faithful it deserved a high seed in the "Big Dance."
Reserves Ronald Ramon and Sam Young scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, to lead third-seeded Pittsburgh to a 79-58 victory over 14th seed Wright State in an NCAA Tournament West Region first-round contest.
Mike Cook had 12 points and Wooden Award candidate Aaron Gray added 11 and nine rebounds for the Panthers, who advance to play 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. The Rams advanced by edging sixth-seeded Duke, 79-77, earlier Thursday.
Pittsburgh (28-7), which was drubbed, 65-42, by Georgetown in the Big East Conference tournament championship game, looked like a different team against Wright State.
The Panthers raced out to a 13-0 lead capped by a dunk by Gray just 2:53 into the contest. However, the Raiders tied it at 22-22 on a 3-pointer by Horizon League Player of the Year DaShaun Wood with 8:35 left in the half.
"We knew that Wright State was a good team," Gray said. "Even though we got off to a 13-0 lead we knew the game wasn't over."
But the Panthers finished the half on a 21-8 run, including a 3-pointer by Ramon with 33 seconds left to lead, 43-30, at the break. Young scored seven points in the burst to finish with 12 at halftime.
"I was very proud of our team and how we played," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "That's a very good Wright State team. Anybody who can win their tournament, beat Butler, shows how good a team it is."
Ramon, who had eight points in the second half, was 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range for Pittsburgh, which is now 16-19 all-time in the NCAAs.
Wood scored 13 points but connected on just 4-of-12 shots for Wright State (23-10), which also received double-digit scoring from Vaughn Duggins (12), Scottie Wilson (11) and Todd Brown (10).
"I think Wood is as good a guard as we've played this year," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We did a very good job on him. I don't remember him getting a good open look all night."
The Raiders fell to 0-3 all-time vs. the Panthers.
"It was a terrific year for our guys," Wright State coach Brad Brownwell said. "I'm a new coach, new system, new style. I only recruited one player. We just kept sticking with it, getting better."
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