Pitt Finally Breaks Through to Elite 8

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

BOSTON - MARCH 26:  Levance Fields #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers steals the ball and brings it down court for the game-winning shot over the Xavier Musketeers during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regionals at TD Banknorth Garden on March 26, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BOSTON -- Whatever Jamie Dixon said to his Pittsburgh Panthers team at half time must have worked. Down 37-29 at the break, Pitt came out of the locker room and virtually shut down the Xavier offense en route to a 60-55 victory at the T.D. Banknorth Arena.

The Panthers (31-4) advance to their first regional final since 1974, when they lost to eventual champion North Carolina State 100-74.

Xavier had everything rolling midway through, but the Panthers limited the Muskies to 17 points on 7-29 shooting in the second half.

Levance Fields was the game-changer in this regional semi-final. Down 54-52 with under one minute to play, Fields hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 50.9 to play and had the steal and lay-in to put the Panthers up three with 23.9 remaining.

Fields had 14 points for the Panthers. They were led by Sam Young, who scored a game-high 19 points and co-Big East Player of the Year DeJuan Blair recorded a double-double with 10 points and 17 boards.

B.J. Raymond
led Xavier with 15 points, and was the one who saw Fields steal the ball away from him and take an regional final game away from his Xavier team.

The Panthers play the Duke/Villanova winner Saturday night in Boston, with the victor heading to Detroit for the Final Four.