ORLANDO, Fla. - Ninth-seeded Pittsburgh scored the first 13 points of the game against eighth-seeded Colorado, led by 28 at halftime and was never threatened in a 77-48 runaway in the South Regional yesterday at the Amway Center.
"The first five minutes, we played really good defense. You could tell the energy was there,'' said forward Talib Zanna, who led Pitt with 18 points and was personally outscoring Colorado 12-7 with seven minutes left in the first half.
At halftime, Pittsburgh (26-9) had 13 assists and Colorado (23-12) had none, with 10 turnovers. The Panthers earned their first NCAA Tournament win in three years.
"We've played really well down the stretch,'' said coach Jamie Dixon, whose team upset North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, regaining the form with which Pitt opened the season 16-1. "Last week was big for us. We didn't win the tournament but we felt we should have won. I think that's where our confidence was built.''
Colorado never found a spark after what forward Josh Scott called a "nightmare start.'' The Buffaloes suffered the most lopsided defeat in their NCAA Tournament history, trumping a 73-46 loss to Cincinnati in 1962. Scott led Colorado with 14 points and six rebounds.
"The defensive effort and focus and intensity we had today was pathetic,'' coach Tad Boyle said. "When you go into halftime down 28, there's not a lot you can say to your guys positively. We had to come out and compete, and you shouldn't have to ask your guys to do that.
"It just wasn't our day.''