Dec 19, 2001

Box Score| Quotes| Notes

Postgame audio:

Head Coach Jim O’Brien
Pitt Head Coach Ben Howland

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Donatas Zavackas hit eight free throws in the final 1:03 and Pittsburgh ended the game with an 18-5 run as the Panthers beat Ohio State 62-55 on Wednesday night.

The Panthers (10-1), off to their best start in 11 years, controlled the boards and completely shut down Ohio State’s offense in their first road game of the season. They held a 38-26 rebounding advantage and dominated in offensive rebounding during a 15-0 stretch run.

The Buckeyes lost their second in a row after opening with six wins.

Zavackas, who finished with 12 points, hit 8-of-10 free throws as the Panthers scored all of their points in the final 3 minutes from the line. The Panthers had made just 7-of-19 free throws before Zavackas stepped to the line with 1:03 left.

Julius Page led Pittsburgh with 17 points with Ontario Lett scoring 15 off the bench. Brandin Knight added seven assists, eight points and six rebounds.

Pittsburgh, leading the nation in scoring defense at 52.8 points a game, have held nine of their first 11 opponents under 60 points. Ohio State came in averaging 77.3 points a game.

Brian Brown had 12 points and Zach Williams and Velimir Radinovich each had 10 for Ohio State, coming off a 66-61 loss at Louisville on Saturday.

Ohio State led 14-5 at the outset, hitting 7 of its first 10 shots from the field.

The Panthers, however, controlled the next 12 minutes, going on a 23-7 run. The Buckeyes were on top 19-17 after Brandon Fuss-Cheatham’s perimeter jumper with 8:04 left in the half, but didn’t score again until Radinovic hit a layup at the 2:52 mark. By then, Pittsburgh had built a 27-19 lead with a 10-0 run. Orlando Lett scored six points in that mini-spurt.

The Buckeyes trailed 28-24 at the half but quickly overcame that with an 8-0 run that gave them a 34-32 advantage on Williams’ turnaround jumper in the lane.

Ohio State led 44-36 on Fuss-Cheatham’s bucket at the 11:51 mark and was still ahead 50-44 after Brent Darby’s perimeter shot with 5:50 left.

But the Buckeyes missed their next nine shots from the field and Pittsburgh – which finished with 17 offensive rebounds – continually got second chances at the offensive end.

The Panthers pulled even on Lett’s foul shot with 3:37 remaining and took the lead for good on Page’s turnaround at the 3-minute mark.

They ran off 15 consecutive points to build the lead to 59-50 until Brown scored on a follow with 13.2 seconds left.

Despite hot starts in each half, Ohio State ended up shooting 45.3 percent (24 of 53) from the field.