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Pittsburgh 65 Rutgers 62

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It came down to one possession.

When you're a team starting over and you're facing the number 2 team in the country, what more can you ask for?

A win.

But when it came down to it, Ashton Gibbs and the number 2 team in the country were able to bury the shot they wanted.  Dane Miller and Rutgers couldn't find the shot they wanted.

More after the jump...

Rutgers came out of the gates hot, taking a 7-1 lead.  They battled hard, hands up, playing great defense.  Unfortunately, the refs were whistle happy early in second half, and Gilvydas Biruta was out of the game without making much of an impact.

The crowd was loud, trying to will Rutgers to win.  The players gave everything they had.  Robert Lumpkins hit two big threes late in the game to keep Rutgers close.  Dane Miller posterized the whole Pitt team, with a dunk to pull them even closer.  They fouled out big man Gary McGahee.  They contained Brad Wannamaker.

But it came down to the buckets.  And Rutgers couldn't get the one it wanted.  On a key stop, Ashton Gibbs was able to switch his man and Miller missed his switch.  It ended with a 3 point swish.

Mike Coburn was able to find Jonathan Mitchell for a 3 point play.  Rutgers was able to find openings.  This was a well coached team tonight.

But it wasn't enough.

Mitchell, Lumpkins, and Coburn each had 12 points.  But it wasn't enough.

Rutgers isn't there yet, under Mike Rice.  But it's closer than it has been in four years.

And help is on the way.  Unfortunately, it won't be here until next November.

St. John's on Wednesday.

Coach Rice's press conference is linked here.