for this game

Pittsburgh hangs on to knock off Georgetown, wins Big East

Mar 16, 2008 - 5:15 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh's rebounding helped the Panthers overcome horrid free-throw shooting and claim the Big East Conference tournament title.

Ronald Ramon scored 17 points and tournament Most Valuable Player Sam Young had 16 as Pittsburgh held on for a 74-65 victory over No. 9 Georgetown on Saturday.

For Ramon, who is from New York City, it was a dream come true.

"Playing at MSG feels great," he said. "It's the mecca of basketball, but to finally win it all after playing in the finals several times, I feel happy and great to finally win the Big East tournament."

"It's exciting to finally win the tournament and be the Big East tournament champions," Pittsburgh's Levance Fields said. "It was nice to hold the trophy after the game and to feel the way I'm feeling - to finally win it's a beautiful thing.

Gilbert Brown had 12 points off the bench and freshman DeJuan Blair added 10 and 10 rebounds for Pittsburgh (26-9), which won its first crown since 2003.

In the championship game for the seventh time in eight years, the Panthers outrebounded the Hoyas, 41-29, for the game. They finished with 19 of their rebounds coming on the offensive end.

"They're great shooting team (but) we did a good job of staying with there shooters and contesting their shots," Ramon said. "Yes, Georgetown was a little off tonight, but I think our defense came out more aggressive and set in our mind not to let their shooter get in a rhythm."

"They hurt on the boards," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "It was evident right from the beginning. I thought our guys fought and scrapped, but the rebounding was the key."

The rebounding margin helped make up a 22-of-44 performance at the foul line for the Panthers, who had missed 12 of their first 17 from the stripe.

After leading by three at the break, the Panthers, who was the tournament's seventh seed, scored the first four points of the second half to take a 35-28 bulge and led throughout the second half.

A quick 8-0 spurt - capped by a jumper by Keith Benjamin - pushed Pittsburgh's lead up to 55-42 with 6:28 remaining.

The Hoyas cut the deficit to 62-57 on a three-point play by Patrick Ewing Jr. with 1:49 left, but were unable to get any closer the rest of the way.

Georgetown (27-5) shot 46 percent (25-of-54) from the floor, but made only 8-of-24 from the arc.

It was the first loss in the Hoyas history when playing as the top seed in the tournament. Georgetown was 14-0 entering the contest.

The Hoyas scored the game's first six points and held a 22-16 advantage after a Jessie Sapp 3-pointer with 8:32 left in the first half.

But Pittsburgh answered with a 15-4 run - keyed by three 3-pointers - to take a 31-26 lead and the Panthers held a three-point edge at the break.

Roy Hibbert scored 17 to lead Georgetown, which was denied back-to-back championships after defeating Pittsburgh in last season's final.

"This was a different team from last year's team," Hibbert said. "They hurt us on the boards and their offense was making shots. They made the extra effort on defense and changing up and giving different looks.