Providence stuns Pitt

The Baltimore Sun

Weyinmi Efejuku scored 16 and Providence upset No. 1 Pittsburgh 81-73 last night for its first win over a top-ranked team in 33 years.

Sharaud Curry added 15 points for the host Friars (17-11, 9-7 Big East), who picked up a big victory for their NCAA tournament hopes.

DeJuan Blair fouled out on a moving pick with 46 seconds left as Pittsburgh (25-3, 12-3) tried to rally.

Blair, the reigning Big East player of the week, averaged 21 points and 20.5 rebounds in wins over No. 1 Connecticut and DePaul that elevated the Panthers to the top spot on Monday. But he picked up two quick fouls - his third and fourth - midway through the second half. He finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.

It was the home finale - senior night - for Providence, and the fans in the sold-out Dunkin' Donuts Center crowded around the courtside press tables for the final minutes. Twice in the final minutes, the public address announcer begged the fans to stay off the floor following the game; twice the crowd responded with a laugh.

Sure enough, after the Friars dribbled out the last 20 seconds - it was too far gone for Pitt to try fouling - the fans went over the tables and chairs circling the floor and celebrated one of the biggest wins in school history.

Top 25 women

No. 22 Virginia 68, No. 11 Florida State 63: : Lyndra Littles scored 17 of her 24 points in the second half and the visiting Cavaliers (22-7, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended a five-game winning streak for the Seminoles (23-6, 11-2) and knocked them back to a half game ahead of Maryland for first place in the conference.

The win gave Maryland, which is tied with the Seminoles in the loss column, control of its finish because the Terps own the tiebreaker for first place on the strength of their victory over Florida State on Feb. 2.

No. 1 Connecticut 74, Villanova 47: : Tina Charles scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds to give the host Huskies (28-0, 14-0) at least a share of their 17th Big East regular season championship. Villanova (17-11, 9-5) shot 28.1 percent.

No. 16 Texas 66, Missouri 56: : Brittainey Raven scored a career-high 31 points and the visiting Longhorns (20-7, 8-5 Big 12) shook off back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.; Alyssa Hollins led Missouri (12-14, 3-10) with 18 points.

No. 23 Notre Dame 90, Syracuse 79: : Lindsay Schrader had 23 points and eight rebounds, Becca Bruszewski added 20 points and the host Irish (19-7, 8-6 Big East) won despite blowing a 17-point lead in the first half. Nicole Michael led the Orange (15-12, 4-10) with 17 points.

Off the court

Connecticut: : Coach Jim Calhoun's post-game tirade Saturday at a freelance journalist posing questions about his $1.6 million salary was an "embarrassing display," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said after meeting with college officials and business leaders in New Haven. Ken Krayeske, a freelancer and political activist, asked the first question of the coach's post-game news conference after a win over South Florida, inquiring why the coach of a public university was making $1.6 million while the state has a $944 million deficit and a projected $8 billion shortfall over the next two years. Calhoun, who has won two national titles at UConn, first responded with a joke, then grew angry as Krayeske continued. "My best advice to you is, shut up," Calhoun said.

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