for this game

Late burst helps Pitt battle past Florida State

Dec 22, 2008 - 5:01 AM TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- What better way can Pittsburgh get ready for the start of the Big East Conference than a tough defensive battle?

Sam Young scored four of his 21 points on a decisive 8-0 run as third-ranked Pittsburgh pulled out a 56-48 victory over Florida State on Sunday.

In a contest where clean looks were at a premium, the Seminoles made a claim for their second home win against a ranked team, tying the score at 48-48 with 2:25 remaining behind four straight points by Uche Echefu.

Levance Fields attempted to respond for the Panthers (12-0), but his 3-pointer was off the mark. Yet, Young corralled the offensive rebound and later scored on a jumper with 63 seconds left.

Toney Douglas then missed the first of seven straight attempts for Florida State (11-2), which finished 30 percent (14-of-47) from the field, including 4-of-18 on 3-pointers.

Young added a jumper and Jermaine Dixon had a pair of layups in transition to round out the scoring.

"We had open shots and we missed them," Douglas told The Palm Beach Post. "When they needed big shots, they made their big shots. That was the game."

DeJuan Blair had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Pittsburgh, which shot 33 percent (21-of-63) in mustering a season low in points.

Despite the poor shooting, Pittsburgh began 12-0 for the second time in four seasons.

"I thought our defense was good all the way through, and our numbers speak to that," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon told the Post. "Early on, I thought they really had trouble with our quickness defensively and our intensity."

Young finished 7-of-16 from the field and pulled down seven boards for the Panthers, who will have nine days to prepare for their league opener, a trip to Rutgers on December 31.

Jermaine Dixon ended up with 11 points, helping to pick up some of the slack for Fields, who managed just three points after shooting 1-of-10.

The senior point guard missed all six of his shots in the first half as Pittsburgh managed to grab just a 26-24 lead. The 26 points tied for its lowest point production in the opening 20 minutes this season.

The second half was a series of runs, as the Seminoles came out of the intermission with a burst before the Panthers countered.

Florida State netted the first 10 points after the break, pulling ahead 34-26 on a 3-pointer by Douglas with 15:33 to play.

Pittsburgh came right back behind the junior Jermaine Dixon, who sandwiched a pair of baskets from the arc around a dunk by Blair to start off a 17-0 run.

Young also hit a 3-pointer, and added two free throws to cap the spurt, putting the Panthers ahead, 43-34, with 8:52 remaining. The Seminoles missed eight straight shots over a span of more than 6 1/2 minutes.

Florida State did eventually find its range, going on a 14-5 run that was topped off by Echefu's tying jumper. However, it went on another cold slump as Pittsburgh pulled away with the decisive run.

"That's what experienced, veteran talent and well-coached teams will do," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton told the paper. "They finished their plays and we didn't. I can't fault our players' effort. I think we still could execute a little better, and I think we still turned the ball over a little too much."

Douglas scored 20 points for the Seminoles, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.