Fields doesn't allow Pitt stop

The Baltimore Sun

Levance Fields pointed Pittsburgh in the right direction just in time - as usual.

For the second straight game, the orchestrator of the offense took the big shots himself, hitting a three-pointer with 50.9 seconds left, then scoring off his steal as the top-seeded Panthers reached a regional final for the first time in 35 years with a 60-55 win over No. 4 seed Xavier on Thursday night in the East Regional in Boston.

One more win and they will be headed to Detroit for the Final Four.

"We came in expecting to win two games," Fields said. "It was dramatic."

Pitt knows the late-game strategy by now.

"Give Levance the ball," Big East co-Player of the Year DeJuan Blair said with a laugh.

The last time Pitt was in a regional final was in 1974, when it lost, 100-72, to eventual national champion North Carolina State and star David Thompson.

"It definitely was big for the players, the coaches and the city," said Sam Young, who led the Panthers with 19 points.

Pitt (31-4) trailed 54-52 before Fields connected. He then poked the ball away from B.J. Raymond and went in for a layup with 23.9 seconds to go.

Fields scored 14 points, and Blair had 10 points and 17 rebounds. The Panthers overcame an eight-point halftime deficit.

Pitt plays Saturday against No. 3 seed Villanova for a berth in the Final Four.

Xavier (27-8) was led by Raymond with 15 points and Derrick Brown with 14.

Connecticut 72, Purdue 60: : After cruising through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, Connecticut found itself in trouble for the first time.

Thanks to Hasheem Thabeet, the top-seeded Huskies weren't in trouble for long.

Thabeet, a Big East co-Player of the Year, scored 15 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked four shots, and Connecticut overcame a sluggish first half to defeat No. 5 seed Purdue in the NCAA West Regional semifinals in Glendale, Ariz.

One day after a Yahoo Sports report alleged UConn committed NCAA recruiting violations, the Huskies (30-4) reached the regional finals for the fourth time since 2002.

The Boilermakers finished 27-10.

Missouri 102, Memphis 91: : A career night in Glendale by J.T. Tiller put Missouri one win away from its first trip to the Final Four. Memphis' 27-game winning streak, meanwhile, is history.

Tiller scored a career-high 23 points - 15 more than his season average - and Missouri held off Memphis' frantic rally in a West Regional semifinal in Glendale.

Third seed Missouri (31-6) led by 24 points four minutes into the second half, then saw Memphis close within six with 2:14 to play. Free throws put it away for Missouri.

Dynamic point guard Tyreke Evans scored 33 for Memphis (33-4). Second seed Memphis shot only 18-for-32 from the foul line, where a poor showing last year cost them dearly in an overtime championship game loss to Kansas.

Missouri faces No. 1 seed Connecticut for the West title Saturday.

Kim English (Randallstown) scored six points for Missouri.

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