for this game

Young lifts Pitt past rival UConn

Mar 7, 2009 - 10:07 PM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Sam Young's last home game at Pittsburgh was a memorable one.

Young scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on Senior Day as the fourth-ranked Panthers outmuscled top-ranked Connecticut, 70-60, in a Big East Conference slugfest Saturday.

Pittsburgh's leading scorer, Young fell just two points shy of his career high, set earlier this season against Belmont. The 6-6 senior shot 13-of-23 from the floor and went 3-for-5 from the arc.

"It's amazing to me that Sam sometimes gets lost in the shuffle," Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon said. "He was the leading scorer last time against UConn, and it was almost a side story.

"I thought he brought a lot of grit and toughness to the game today, rebounding well, along with making shots. We thought Sam had some good matchups offensively today, and as a great player, he was able to take advantage."

Young's offensive outburst helped offset a sub-par performance from Pittsburgh center DeJuan Blair, who had 22 points and 23 rebounds in the Panthers' earlier meeting with the Huskies this season. The 6-7 Blair managed just eight points and eight boards in this contest.

"I'm so happy for my seniors," said Blair, who helped Pittsburgh complete a 19-0 record at home. "I did what I had to do to get them not only a win, but also an undefeated season at home. Beating the No. 1 team in the country is a great way to send these guys out."

Brad Wanamaker scored 13 points off the bench while senior Levance Fields battled through a bruised tailbone to finish with 10 points for and 12 assists for the Panthers (28-3, 15-3 Big East), who swept the season series with UConn (27-3, 15-3) and secured at least the No. 2 seed in next week's conference tournament.

A.J. Price scored 19 points while Hasheem Thabeet added 14 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Huskies, who went just 10-for-19 from the free-throw line.

Despite facing a 14-point deficit with 12:23 remaining, UConn reeled off a 12-0 run capped by Stanley Robinson's dunk with 8:26 left.

But Pittsburgh responded with a 16-5 run punctuated by Fields' free throw that gave the Panthers a 68-55 lead in the final minute of the contest.