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No. 17 Pitt Drops 70-61 Decision at South Florida

Brad Wanamaker drives for the basket

Brad Wanamaker drives for the basket

Jan. 31, 2010

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP)--Dominique Jones scored 37 points and South Florida extended its school-best Big East winning streak to three straight games with a 70-61 upset of No. 17 Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Jones made 10 of 20 shots from the field and 14 of 17 free throws. USF (14-7, 4-5) nearly squandered a 14-point lead down the stretch, but held on by making 11 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes.

Gilbert Brown scored a career-high 25 for Pittsburgh (16-5, 6-3), which has dropped three of four conference games after starting 5-0 in the league and working its way into the Top 10. The Panthers hurt themselves by missing five free throws after pulling within 54-50 with 5:33 remaining.

South Florida has won four of five following an 0-4 start in the conference. The Bulls improved to 10-82 against ranked teams, including 4-20 since leaving Conference USA for the Big East.

Pitt rebounded from its first two-game losing streak in nearly two years by beating St. John's on Thursday night. The Panthers missed 11 of their first 15 shots in this one and trailed 22-11 before wiping out the early deficit with an 11-0 run led by Brown.

The 6-foot-6 junior had eight points in the spurt and finished the opening half with a dunk and jumper that helped the Panthers withstand another USF surge that carried the Bulls to a 31-26 lead at the break.

Jones averaged 37 points in leading South Florida to overtime wins over Providence and Seton Hall for the Bulls' first two-game conference winning streak since entering the Big East four seasons ago.

The league's third-leading scorer behind Notre Dame's Luke Harangody and Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell had 13 points on 4 for 11 shooting the first half. He got some timely support from Chris Howard and Mike Mercer to regroup after Pitt's big first-half run.

Jones made a 3-pointer and a turnaround jumper in the lane during the burst that enabled USF to open a 51-37 lead midway through the second half. Pitt made up most of the deficit with a 12-2 spurt but never got closer than four down the stretch.

Brad Wanamaker scored 14 for the Panthers and Ashton Gibbs added 11. Howard joined Jones in double figures for USF with 12.