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by: JamieD On  Monday, February 14, 2011

It was one of those elite performances that should at least get the Pittsburgh Panthers some consideration for top spot among voters, if it doesn’t end up putting them there when the latest NCAA men’s basketball rankings are released.  They did something that hadn’t been  accomplished in over four years, despite taking one on the chin while doing so, literally.

In a feisty Saturday afternoon affair that saw 43 fouls and three technicals handed out, Pitt prevailed against Villanova, ending the Wildcats’ 46-game win streak at The Pavilion.  As for the turning point of the game, that would come less than four minutes into the second half, after Nova’s Isaiah Armwood connected on a right hook to the face of Pitt’s Nasir Robinson.  Armwood delivered the punch while seemingly attempting to put his arm around teammate Mouphtaou Yarou, but after an official review it was determined to be worthy of a technical foul.

The Panthers would go on a 19-6 run following the punch and never trailed again, hanging on for the 57-54 victory.

The win gives Pittsburgh a remarkable 11-1 record in Big East play, putting them one win ahead of Notre Dame (10-3), and two up on Georgetown (9-3).  When you consider the fact that Pitt remains on top of the Big East Conference, which currently has six teams ranked within the Associated Press’ Top 12, it is hard to believe that they will not be ranked number one come Monday, after former No.1 Ohio State lost its first game of the season.  But with Kansas and Texas both ranked two and three headed into last week, it is unlikely that the Panthers will be able to play leapfrog with the two Big 12 schools.  Although, that doesn’t really seem to matter to them, according to starting guard Brad Wanamaker:

“(W)e want to be in the conversation among the elite at the end of the season, not now. When they start talking about the national championship, that’s when we want to be talked about.’’ [ESPN]

Well the Panthers certainly seem to be on the right path, and it is going to take more than just a single punch to knock them off it.  Armwood tried that already and failed.  You can check it out below.




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