for this game

Young's 22 points helps Pittsburgh cruise past Providence

Feb 13, 2008 - 4:33 AM By Chris Adamski PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Sam Young and the Pittsburgh Panthers are finding their groove again just as they are regaining full strength.

Young scored 22 points as No. 24 Pittsburgh posted an 82-63 Big East Conference victory over Providence on Tuesday.

Ronald Ramon scored 15 points on five 3-pointers and freshman DeJuan Blair also had 15 for the Panthers (19-5, 7-4 Big East), who have won three of their past four games.

"Today I was looking to take high-percentage shots," Young said. "We came out and got a couple easy buckets and got into a rhythm, and I took advantage of it."

Pittsburgh, which could welcome back star point guard Levance Fields as early as Friday at Marquette, used a 21-5 run to start the second half en route to winning consecutive games for the first time in four weeks.

"We've been on this streak of win-lose, win-lose, win-lose," Young said. "When you get into a situation like that and get another win, you have to capitalize on that and use it as a stepping stone moving forward. We have some momentum now."

Fields, who averaged 11.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 12 games, has missed the past 12 games since sustaining a fractured right foot at Dayton on December 29.

"I think confidence-wise as a team, we've seen some guys showing they can play," said Ramon, who tied a career high with five 3-pointers. "We showed what we can do as a team (with Fields hurt), and we have been maturing throughout the season."

The Panthers led 42-37 at the break before putting the game away with the second-half burst.

A pair of foul shots by freshman Gilbert Brown began the spurt 46 seconds into the second and a layup by Brad Wanamaker made it 63-42 with 10:48 remaining. Young and Blair each had four points in the run and Ramon added a 3-pointer for the Panthers, who shot 59 percent (34-of-58).

"I thought offensively we were good the whole game," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We passed it well, found the open man, really shared it and knocked down shots.

"In the second half, we made the commitment to defense. We talked about at halftime really getting it done on the defensive end and really winning the game on defense, and that's what we did."

Marshon Brooks scored 15 points and Jeff Xavier added 14 for Providence (13-11, 4-8), which shot 46 percent (25-of-54) but went on a stretch of nine minutes with only two points early in the second half.

Randall Hanke also scored 10 points for the Friars, who have lost five of their past six.

"Their defense dictated the game in the second half," Providence coach Tim Welsh said. "They turned our bad offense and their good defense into a six- or seven-minute run. Our kids got stunned. We kept fighting, but it's very hard to come back from a deficit like that in this building."