Pittsburgh Holds Off East Tennessee State 72-62
March 20, 2009
DAYTON, Ohio -- Pittsburgh had an ugly -- and scary -- first game as a No. 1.
Pitt's massive center DeJuan Blair bullied his way inside for 27 points and 16 rebounds as the Panthers, playing their first game as a top seed in the NCAA tournament, survived a frightful 40 minutes from No. 16 seed East Tennessee State and advanced with a 72-62 win on Friday in the East Regional.
Pittsburgh (29-4) will play eighth-seeded Oklahoma State, a 75-77 winner over ninth-seeded Tennessee, in Sunday's second round.
The Panthers had better improve if they want to go much further. They made 18 turnovers, struggled with ETSU's end-to-end press and hardly looked like potential national champions.
Kevin Tiggs scored 21 for the Buccaneers (23-11), who shot just 31 percent but still had a chance to become the first No. 16 to down a No. 1 until the final two minutes.