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Finally X marks the spot

03.26.09 at 8:58 pm ET
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Derrick Brown’s turnaround in the lane at 13:40 was not only Xavier’s first field goal of the second half, it marked their first points of the second stanza.

It also gave Xavier the lead again after Pittsburgh scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 38-37 advantage when Sam Young hit one of two free throws.

Read More: March Madness, Pittsburgh, Xavier,

Pitt on a run

03.26.09 at 8:49 pm ET
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Pittsburgh got the boost they needed to start the second half.

They scored the first six points out of the chute and when Pittsburgh, the best offensive rebounding team in the country, grabbed a loose ball after a miss and converted a baseline jumper, an upset Sean Miller called a time out at 16:30, 30 seconds in advance of a TV timeout.

Miller, the Muskies coach, was seen dressing down Derrick Brown for a blown assignment.

When Sam Young converted a fastbreak steal, the Panthers had drawn even with 15:15 remaining. Xavier had yet to score in the second half.

Read More: March Madness, Pittsburgh, Xavier,

Xavier 37, Pittsburgh 29

03.26.09 at 8:35 pm ET
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The Pittsburgh Panthers just walked off a dejected group, and for good reason.

The Xavier Musketeers are playing the perfect game. In taking an eight-point lead, Xavier has taken it to Pittsburgh’s biggest and best players.

Sam Young is 5-for-8 from the field and leads Pittsburgh with 11 points but the rest of the No. 1 seed is a collective 6-for-23 and DeJuan Blair is just 1-for-6 and has just two points and four rebounds.

Xavier has outrebounded their last 24 opponents and they’re on their way to No. 25, as they lead 23-16 on the glass.

Xavier leads by eight despite shooting just 14-for-35 . Derrick Brown has brought his ‘A’ game, with a thunderous dunk midway through the half. Brown has been able to pick his spots and drive the lane. C.J. Anderson has shown his athleticism with a couple of spinning layups.

In short, if the Muskies play like that for another 20 minutes, they’ll be back to the Elite 8 for a second straight year.

Read More: March Madness, Pittsburgh, Xavier,

Settling in

03.26.09 at 8:13 pm ET
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Both Xavier and Pittsburgh have settled into a rhythm.

Granted neither team is burning the nets with the top-seeded Panthers making just 10 of 26 from the field while Xavier is just 10-for-29. Xavier has made 7-of-13 since starting 3-for-16.

The crowd is late-arriving but that’s to be expected considering the second game isn’t expected to tap-off until about 10 p.m. nearly all the seats filled in both the lower and upper bowls.

Villanova and Duke are expected to have very large numbers in the TD Banknorth Garden for the second East Regional semifinal.

Read More: March Madness, Pittsburgh, Xavier,

Xavier not backing down

03.26.09 at 8:01 pm ET
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The Pittsburgh Panthers had the reputation as the toughest of the tough this year. The most physical team in the Big East is accustomed to manhandling teams, beginning with DeJuan Blair in the post.

But the Xavier Musketeers are not intimidated in the least in this Sweet 16 matchup. They have Derrick Brown and C.J. Anderson bodying Blair every time he gets the ball. Every Pittsburgh shot is being contested.

Meanwhile, the Muskies are doing a good job of perimeter passing, opening lanes for and Brown and Anderson each have thunderous dunks.

Read More: March Madness, Pittsburgh, Xavier,

Pitt warms up

03.26.09 at 7:53 pm ET
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After missing seven of their first nine shots, the No. 1 seed Panthers have made four of six, including a three, to grab the 14-12 lead over Xavier. The Muskies, on the other hand, remain ice cold, and have made just three of their first 16 from the field.

Xavier out to early lead

03.26.09 at 7:43 pm ET
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At the first time out, the large contingent from Cincinnati that made the trip to Boston has had more to cheer about.

Xavier has grabbed an early lead over Pittsburgh, 9-4, at the first official media time out with 15:14 remaining in the first half.

This game has come as advertised early on. Lots of loose balls and missed shots and physical play under the glass.

Each team has made just 2 of their first 9 shots from the floor.

Read More: March Madness, Pittsburgh, Xavier,
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