Pittsburgh has little time to dwell on first loss Print
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Sunday, 18 January 2009 09:57
NCAAB Headline News


 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -Pittsburgh forward Sam Young politely declined interview requests as he trudged toward the bus outside Freedom Hall shortly after the top-ranked Panthers watched their perfect season evaporate in the final eight minutes of a 69-63 loss to No. 20 Louisville on Saturday night.
Maybe Young knows there's little time to worry about the past in the nation's toughest conference.
For all the mistakes the Panthers made after taking a seemingly safe 10-point lead on a layup by Jermaine Dixon with 8:55 remaining - missing 15 of their last 16 shots, turning it over four times in the last four minutes - they know the biggest one they can make is dwelling on them too long.
``We're going to learn from it, we're going to get better for it,'' coach Jamie Dixon said.
hey don't have a choice.
A stumble against No. 8 Syracuse (17-2, 5-1) on Monday night could send the Panthers from the top of the polls to the middle of the conference pack in a span of 48 hours.
``Our guys always want to play,'' Dixon said. ``We learned from our 16 wins, we've got to learn from our one loss.''
The Cardinals (13-3, 4-0) did their best to provide Dixon with a couple of teaching points.
Louisville's relentless fullcourt pressure rattled the Panthers into a season-high 20 turnovers, including six by normally steady point guard Levance Fields, who entered the game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of almost 5 to 1.
``When you press the whole game, you're going to have some turnovers and I thought we had too many,'' Dixon said.
Fields could never get it going in the second half and drew a rare offensive foul 80 feet from the basket after referees said he pushed off Louisville's Edgar Sosa in an effort to get open. The Cardinals took possession and pushed the lead to 62-58 on a pair of free throws by Earl Clark with 2:17 remaining. Pittsburgh wouldn't get any closer than three the rest of the way.
ting job.
``That's what they do with their defense, they try to speed you up,'' Fields said. ``We play against it every year. We knew what to expect.''
The one thing the Panthers didn't count on, however, was having Young and center DeJuan Blair deal with the kind of foul trouble they've rarely encountered this season.
Blair managed just nine points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes before fouling out with 11 seconds remaining. He was dominant when he was in the game, but found himself on the bench during a pivotal 4-minute stretch late in the second half after picking up his fourth foul with 8:04 to go.
By the time Blair returned with 3:27 left, Pittsburgh's 10-point lead was gone.
Blair's absence allowed Louisville to outrebound the Panthers 42-38 and gain a 26-22 edge on points in the paint, two stats the Panthers have dominated this year.
``Our strategy was to go at him,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
ent shooting in conference play.
Dixon, however, refused to place Pittsburgh's late struggles solely on his All-American candidate.
``I think he played hard, he battled and competed,'' Dixon said. ``It's hard to play in that situation with the fouls, but I thought he did a very good job.''
 

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