Sunday, March 14, 2004

Big East: Connecticut claims sixth league title

Tourney MVP Gordon has 23 points

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Ben Gordon made it his Big East Tournament.

The junior guard scored 23 points to lead No. 9 Connecticut to a record-tying sixth conference title in a 61-58 victory over sixth-ranked Pittsburgh Saturday.

Gordon was the star for the Huskies (27-6) in the previous two games while center Emeka Okafor was out with back spasms. He struggled with his shooting in the championship game, but it was his jumper in the lane with 30 seconds left that gave Connecticut a 59-58 lead and then he added two free throws with 0.5 seconds to play to cap the win.

Gordon scored 29 points in each of the two earlier games and set a tournament record for points with 81, two more than Georgetown's Allen Iverson had in 1996. He was named the event's MVP.

Okafor returned Saturday and had 11 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.

It was the third straight year the defending champion Panthers (29-4) and the Huskies met in the title game.

Gordon's jumper in the lane was the third lead change in the game's final two minutes.

Rashad Anderson's 3-pointer gave the Huskies a 57-56 lead with 2:01 remaining, their first since opening the game with a 13-2 run.

Mark McCarroll hit a bank shot with 1:35 left to give the Panthers a 58-57 lead. Each team had a scoreless possession before Gordon capped a 7-for-22 shooting night with the tough shot in the lane.

Carl Krauser's drive with 8 seconds left was blocked by Josh Boone and the loose ball was grabbed by McCarroll, who missed a jumper. The buzzer sounded and Gordon threw the ball into the stands to start the celebration, but the teams came back on the court when a review by the officials had a foul on McCarroll with a half-second left.

When Gordon made the two free throws, Pitt's final chance ended with a missed jumper by Julius Page at the buzzer, and the real celebration started at Madison Square Garden.

McCarroll and Chris Taft each had 11 points for the Panthers, and Jaron Brown and Krauser each scored 10.

CONNECTICUT (27-6)-Anderson 5-13 0-0 14, Boone 2-5 1-2 5, Okafor 5-13 1-2 11, T.Brown 3-6 2-2 8, Gordon 7-22 6-6 23, D.Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Armstrong 0-0 0-0 0, Tooles 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-62 10-12 61.

PITTSBURGH (29-4)-J.Brown 4-10 2-2 10, Troutman 2-3 1-2 5, Taft 4-8 3-6 11, Krauser 4-13 2-2 10, Page 1-6 0-0 2, Morris 3-4 0-1 6, McCarroll 5-10 0-0 11, Graves 1-1 0-0 3, Demetris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 8-13 58.

Halftime score-Pittsburgh 34-25. 3-Point Goals-Connecticut 7-19 (Anderson 4-10, Gordon 3-9), Pittsburgh 2-7 (Graves 1-1, McCarroll 1-2, Krauser 0-1, Page 0-1, J.Brown 0-2). Fouled out-Okafor. Rebounds-Connecticut 41 (Okafor 13), Pittsburgh 33 (Krauser 8). Assists-Connecticut 13 (T.Brown 6), Pittsburgh 13 (J.Brown 6). Total fouls-Connecticut 14, Pittsburgh 13. A-19,528.

Knockout punch is Bearcats'
ONLINE EXTRA: Photos of Saturday's game
Daugherty: Bobbitt takes pain, then dishes some out
Defense is star of tournament championship

XU's 4-for-4 makes history
Finn's role this day is hero

Area teams hope to land on higher ground
A foolproof guide to doing your bracket
Top 50 things we love about March Madness
UK able to make all the right moves
Experts believe 'Cats likely to be top seed
SEC: Gators cruise past Vandy to title game
Big 10: Harris shoots; Badgers rebound
Big 12: Mouton's 3-pointers spur Longhorns to title game
Big East: Connecticut claims sixth league title
Pac-10: Cardinal avenge their lone defeat
MAC: Western Michigan wins title, NCAA berth
Tate lifts unlikely Florida A&M in MEAC tourney
Quakers in D-III Final Four
Women: Oklahoma beats No. 2 Texas
A quick chat with ... Digger Phelps

Eagles show why team's ranked No. 1
With Moeller on ropes, Duncan takes command
CovCath's Listerman finally makes Sweet 16
Lancers heading to Sweet 16
Sycamore pulls upset over Princeton
Big Blue gets D-1 title
Amazons' 1st loss comes at high cost
Royals ousted; streak snapped
Groeschen: Norwood building athletic program
Ernst: Try this all-region tourney team
Prep sports results, schedules

Haynes aces first big pitching test
ONLINE EXTRA: Reds e-mail Q&A
Inside Reds camp
Kelly: Nasty, but pain just hurts
Norton in fight for spot on staff
Fantasy baseball: Unproven rookies still worth a look
Maroth's many sleepless nights
Is Benson on the way out?
Williams' wish to be frozen alongside dad

Visits and offers, but no action yet
Chesley: Bengals are just 'bullying'
Forget salary; age might be key number
Law wants to leave Pats, calls team's offer an 'insult'

Teen finds groove as skater, excels on international stage
What's up with that?
Area swimmers going national
Planning ahead: Must-see TV
This week's poll question
All thumbs

Long shot pulls upset in Fla. Derby
Inman gives Petty team nudge in right direction
NBA: Rockets halt Memphis
Sports digest
Sports today on TV, radio