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Pitt falls to WVU in Big East semis

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NEW YORK – West Virginia avenged two regular-season losses with a 74-60 victory over No. 2 seed Pitt in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Despite the loss, Pitt (28-4), which had reached the Big East finals seven of the past eight years, will likely earn its first No. 1 seed when the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced Sunday night.

DeJuan Blair, the Big East co-Player of the Year, picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game and fouled out with 1:17 to play. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Sam Young, the tournament’s reigning Most Outstanding Player, led Pitt with 15 points and six rebounds but shot 6 of 17 from the field.

Pitt went 0 for 8 from 3-point range and lost for only the third time in their past 14 games at Madison Square Garden. The 14-point defeat was Pitt’s worst loss of the season.

Devin Ebanks (20), Alex Ruoff (18) and Da’Sean Butler (16) scored in double figures for West Virginia, which beat Pitt for only the second time in their past eight meetings.

West Virginia (23-10), the No. 7 seed, will advance to play the winner of last night’s Syracuse (24-8)-Connecticut (27-3) game at 9 tonight in the Big East semifinals.

Top-seeded Louisville (26-5) will play No. 4 Villanova (26-6) in the other semifinal game.

Pitt trailed 36-34 at halftime despite shooting 53.6 percent from the field, as West Virginia went 13 for 13 from free-throw line. West Virginia led the entire second half, as Pitt went nearly eight minutes without a field goal during one stretch. The Mountaineers, leading 53-47 with less minutes to play, pulled away and led 68-53 on Butler’s 3-pointer with 5:13 to play.

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