It wasn't just a game between No. 1 and No. 4. It was a game between two of the Big East's most physical teams. And it was played just the way it was expected to be.
"That was the most physical game I ever played in my entire life," DeJuan Blair said after recording 22 points and 23 rebounds in No. 4 Pittsburgh's 76-68 victory over No. 1 Connecticut last night in Hartford, Conn., the Panthers' first win over a top-ranked team. "There were elbows flying, bodies flying. We just went after each other the whole game."
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun referred to the games played in the conference more than a decade ago.
"The Big East games in the '90s were like this," he said after his team's 13-game winning streak ended. "They came in here and played a style of basketball we haven't seen this year, and it was effective against us. ... They made big plays, and we didn't. It was a hell of a basketball game."
The biggest of those plays were three-pointers from Levance Fields, who scored all 10 of his points in the final 3:09. His first three gave the Panthers (24-2, 11-2) the lead for good at 64-61 with 3:09 left. His second three with 2:21 left made it 67-61, and he added four free throws in the final minute.
Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon joked that if he had known Fields had missed his first eight shots, he might not have called plays for him.
A.J. Price had 18 points for the Huskies (24-2, 12-2), who started their third week at No. 1.
Top 25 women
Only Texas and Louisiana Tech had won three straight there before.
The Lady Vols fell to 18-7.
UMES 83, NORFOLK STATE 81:: Neal Pitt recorded a double double and hit a pair of free throws in the game's final second to propel the Hawks (7-18, 3-9 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) to a victory over the visiting Spartans (8-15, 6-6).
COPPIN STATE 57, FLORIDA A&M; 45:: Danielle Anders scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the second half and the Eagles (11-12, 9-3 MEAC) overcame a six-point halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Rattlers (10-13, 5-7).
MOUNT ST. MARY'S 63, ST. FRANCIS (N.Y.) 45:: Lauren Howell scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Mount (11-14, 6-9 Northeast Conference) past the visiting Terriers (4-21, 3-12).
UMES 95, NORFOLK STATE 64:: Four players reached double figures to lead the Lady Hawks (11-12, 7-5 MEAC) past the visiting Spartans (0-22, 0-12).