65 - 64 Final - OT
  for this game

Fields' 3-pointer helps Pitt sink Duke in overtime

Dec 21, 2007 - 4:19 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon and his staff had seen Levance Fields hit big shots hundreds of times. Only after Mike Cook's best friend came through, this victory had some bittersweet feelings.

Fields buried a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining in overtime as the ninth-ranked Panthers edged No. 7 Duke, 65-64, in the Aeropostale Classic on Thursday night.

The Panthers improved to 11-0 and did so after Cook, a senior swingman, suffered a left knee injury in the opening minute of overtime. After remaining on the court for several minutes, Cook had to be helped back to the locker room.

"I haven't been in this too long, playing and coaching but it's probably the most bittersweet victory I've ever been through," Dixon said. "We don't think it's great for Mike, let's put it that way. We're trying to figure out what the best thing to do at this point.

"Levance is his best friend and we talked about it when he went down - we're going to win this game for Mike and leave it to his best friend to hit the shot."

Dixon's players also echoed the sentiments.

"We did it for Mike," Panthers freshman forward DeJuan Blair said. "Mike Cook, we did it for him. I don't know what's wrong with him. I'm going to see him but we did it for him."

At the time of Cook's injury, Duke (10-1) had a 59-58 lead. The Blue Devils lost that edge but regained it and had a 64-62 advantage after freshman Kyle Singler hit a foul shot with 23 seconds left.

With the Panthers needing a big play to continue their undefeated start, they used a timeout to call a play that involved spreading the floor for Fields. The junior point guard started a drive on the left side of the key before stepping back and sinking his third 3-pointer of the game.

"Coaches afterward were saying, we've seen that shot hundreds of times, going to his left and running that play thousands of times," Dixon said.

"It was five-up," Fields said. "I told them in the huddle I was going to go for the win just because with everything happening and with Mike going down like that. I felt we had everything on our side so I just went for the shot and it went in."

While Fields stepped up in the clutch, the game belonged to Blair, who finished with 15 points and 20 rebounds in his first game at Madison Square Garden.

The 6-7 forward provided an impressive physical presence for Pittsburgh, which rallied from a 12-point deficit at the half.

The Panthers also won despite shooting 35 percent (23-of-65) and committing 22 turnovers. Fields connected on all three of their 3-pointers.

Duke did get two chances to answer in the final moments, as Jon Scheyer hit the back of the rim on a 3-pointer before chasing down his own rebound and flipping up another shot that was off the mark.

Scheyer's miss capped a night in which the Blue Devils shot under 38 percent (23-of-61), including 4-of-19 from 3-point range. They also committed 19 turnovers and were outrebounded, 53-39, as they gradually lost control.

"I am not just disapointed," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I am very disappointed. You come here, you are playing in the Garden against a really good team, an outstanding program. We should have had more energy and toughness. Sometimes you get punished in the toughest ways because you are not deserving."

"It's a heartbreaker," Scheyer said. "It really is. These are games we need to win. Bottom line is we weren't tough enough."

Besides losing one of their senior leaders, Pittsburgh also were without Blair after he fouled out by bumping DeMarcus Nelson with 1:36 left. Nelson converted a three-point play for a one-point edge at 63-62 but Duke was unable to get another basket as it absorbed its first setback in the month of December since 2000 - spaning 37 games.

The Panthers used a 14-1 run to take their first lead since very early in the contest. The spurt was capped by a jumper by Fields, making it 52-49 with 3:42 remaining.

During the comeback, Duke missed six straight shots. It finally scored a basket when Gerald Henderson converted a layup with 2:57 remaining.

Henderson, who finished with 17 points, had a dunk on the Blue Devils' next possession and Singler nailed a 3-pointer for a 56-56 tie with 91 seconds remaining.

After Sam Young hit a jumper from the right corner for Pittsburgh, Henderson re-tied the game on a jumper with 58 seconds left.

Cook was short on a 3-pointer on the other end before Henderson missed a hanging layup in the lane and Singler was off the mark on a tip in the closing moments of regulation.