Syracuse improves to 24-0 as freshman hits 35-foot buzzer-beater
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Tyler Ennis took the inbounds pass with 4.4 seconds left and dribbled up court, weaving through Pittburgh’s defense. He had the option of shooting or passing to Trevor Cooney.
The Syracuse freshman guard decided to shoot.
It was the right decision.
Ennis made the 35-footer at the buzzer and No. 1 Syracuse remained unbeaten with a 58-56 victory over No. 25 Pitt on Wednesday night.
“I saw someone ran over to Trevor and I just had to beat one guy,” Ennis said. “I knew they weren’t going to let Trevor get it. I just had to get some space. I knew I could get open for a second.”
Syracuse (24-0, 11-0 Atlantic Coast) and Wichita State are the lone undefeated teams in Division I.
Talib Zanna, who led Pitt (20-5, 8-4) with 16 points and 14 rebounds, hit two free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt to give the Panthers a 56-55 lead before Ennis’ winner.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon called a timeout after the free throws to set his defense. That also allowed Syracuse to draw up a play designed for its fearless freshman.
“We guarded it about as well as you could guard it,” Dixon said. “He made about a 40-footer. We did what we were supposed to do. ... They were going to get a shot off. He made it, and he made a tough one.”
It was Pitt’s first loss at home to a top-five team in the 12-year history of the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers had been 9-0 against top-five teams and 13-1 against teams ranked in the top 10.
Top 10 men
No. 6 Villanova 87, at DePaul 62
Darrun Hilliard scored 22 points, JayVaughn Pinkston had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Villanova beat DePaul for its sixth straight win.
Villanova (22-2, 10-1 Big East) opened a three-game trip with its eighth consecutive victory against De-Paul. Brandon Young had a season-high 27 points for the Blue Demons (10-15, 2-10).
Top 5 women
At No. 4 Louisville 60, Temple 50
Shoni Schimmel scored 21 points and as Louisville (24-2, 12-1 American Athletic) bounced back from Sunday’s loss to No. 1 Connecticut. Tyonna Williams’ 12 points led the Owls (12-12, 6-7).
• Wednesday’s game between No. 8 Duke and North Carolina was postponed due to a storm that brought enough snow and ice to paralyze many area roads. The game will be played Feb. 20.
• Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the Spartans will join North Carolina, Texas and Florida in December 2018 for a coast-to-coast basketball event that will include games in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.