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Young helps Pittsburgh rebound from rare loss

Mar 1, 2009 - 7:40 AM SOUTH ORANGE, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh's stay at the top of the rankings is likely over, but its quest for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is still very much alive.

Sam Young scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the top-ranked Panthers used a strong second half to bounce back from a rare loss with a 89-78 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday.

DeJuan Blair collected nine points and 10 boards and Levance Fields finished with 10 points and 10 assists for Pittsburgh (26-3, 13-3 Big East), which suffered an 81-73 loss to Providence on Tuesday in its first game since retaking the top spot in the rankings.

Blair left the game early in the first half with an apparent knee injury. He retreated to the locker room but came back soon, missing less than five minutes of gametime.

"I don't want to be guessing," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. "I don't want to speculate. I haven't even talked to the trainer yet. It didn't seem like it was something serious."

"We were all definitely nervous," Fields added. "He had two ACL injuries in high school. It was a scary sight. You hope for the best, but your first thought is 'Oh my God.' But we knew he'd tough it out."

Jeremy Hazell poured in 25 points and Eugene Harvey and Robert Mitchell added 17 apiece for the Pirates (15-13, 6-10), who have lost four of their last five contests following a five-game winning streak.

The Panthers, who will close out the regular season with back-to-back home games against Marquette and Connecticut, took a 36-31 advantage into halftime and pulled away after the break.

Tyrell Biggs knocked down a 3-pointer early in the second half to ignite a 14-4 run that extended Pittsburgh's lead to 50-39 with 15:21 remaining.

After Fields hit a shot from the arc to make it 53-41, Seton Hall went on a short run that cut the deficit to seven with 13:40 left. But the Pirates failed to get any closer from that point on.

Young, who collected his second double-double of the season, shot 10-of-15 from the field. The senior forward finished just four points shy of his career high.

"Sam is a great scorer," said Jermaine Dixon, who finished with 14 points. "When he rebounds like that he's going to get a lot of points. He saw we were struggling a little bit there, and he stepped up."

The Pirates, who were outrebounded by a 40-19 margin, turned 23 turnovers into just 19 points.

"We're a team where we usually convert other team's mistakes," guard Paul Gause told the Star Ledger. "For some reason, we just weren't able to do it. It had a little bit to do with them, but it had to do with us too. We have to take that into account and try and fix that."