#1 SU beats Pitt for 20th win; best start ever

The # 1 Syracuse Orange basketball team is now officially off to its best start in history, beating the Pittsburgh Panthers 71-63 on Monday night. The win gives the Orange basketball team their first ever 20-0 record on the same day that they were ranked # 1 in the country for the 6th straight week.

"I've been a part of history a couple times here," said Kris Joseph who finished with 12 points, "The 34,000 crowd, this right here. It's a great feeling. All those things right there, you get remembered, you'll never be forgotten and that's a great feeling. Tonight was for coach and we're glad we got this win."

The win also move


Head Coach Jim Boeheim into the 4th spot for all-time career wins, tying Adolph Rupp with 876 career victories

, something Boeheim wasn't openly celebrating.

"There is no significance, none whatsoever," said Boeheim after the game, "The only thing I care about is this year and what we are doing this year."

Dion Waiters led the Orange with 16 points off the bench, while Joseph, Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine all had 12. Fab Melo had 10 points, adding 10 rebounds and 6 blocks for the double double.

"(Fab) was good tonight," says Boeheim, "He was big, he played big, and I thought he did a great job. He had a couple of opportunities catching the ball down low but he did not quite catch them and finish, but he is improving."

It was the first time Syracuse has beat Pittsburgh since 2006, and the first time the Orange have beat them at the Carrier Dome since 2003.

More on this story from the Associated Press:

Dion Waiters had 16 points and Scoop Jardine had 12 points and 10 assists as No. 1 Syracuse beat Pittsburgh 71-63 on Monday night to open the season with 20 straight wins.

The Orange (20-0, 7-0 Big East) set a school record for most consecutive victories to start a season and it was win No. 876 for coach Jim Boeheim, tying him with Adolph Rupp of Kentucky for fourth place all-time in Division I. North Carolina's Dean Smith is third with 879.

Boeheim extended his Division I record for most 20-win seasons to 34.

It was the seventh straight loss for Pittsburgh (11-8, 0-6). The Panthers were coming off a stunning 62-39 home loss to Rutgers last Wednesday, the fewest points they scored in a regulation game since a 53-30 loss to Temple in 1969.

Ashton Gibbs, Cameron Wright and Lamar Patterson all scored 10 points for Pitt, which had beaten Syracuse five straight times and had won 13 of the past 16 meetings.

Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche both had 12 points for Syracuse, while Fab Melo had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks before fouling out in the final minute.

The Orange are No. 1 for the sixth straight week, matching the longest run in school history set at the start of 1989-90.

Talib Zanna and John Johnson had nine points each for the Panthers.

The Orange's last home win against the Panthers was 67-65 on Feb. 1, 2003. Syracuse's last win over Pitt was 65-61 in the 2006 Big East tournament championship game, and its last victory during the regular season was 49-46 in overtime in February 2004 at the Petersen Events Center.

Pitt trailed 48-34 with 15:10 left when Jardine hit from the right corner and flashed a smile as he headed back up court. Undaunted, the Panthers came back as they worked the shot clock looking for openings in the Syracuse zone. A 3-pointer by Johnson as the shot-clock buzzer sounded and Dante Taylor's reverse layup had them within nine points in less than 2 minutes.

A 3 by Waiters boosted the lead back to nine, but Johnson hit another 3 and Zanna scored four straight points to move Pitt within 53-49 with 8:36 left.

Syracuse responded quickly. Waiters drove and dished to Joseph on the wing for a wide-open 3 and after Johnson missed from long range for the first time in the game, Waiters swished a 3 from the left wing and the lead was back to 10.Pittsburgh never got closer than eight points.

It was Pitt's first game against a top-ranked team in nearly three years. The Panthers brought a 2-13 record in those games into the Carrier Dome, but those two wins came in succession against Connecticut in February and March 2009.

Pittsburgh scored the first 19 points in beating the third-ranked Orange 74-66 at the Petersen Events Center a year ago, Syracuse's first loss of the season after 18 straight wins.

The Orange seemed intent on turning the tables in this one, storming to a 13-0 lead as the Panthers missed their first six shots and Melo registered three blocks in the first 4 minutes.

In last year's game, the Orange rallied right back, scoring 17 straight points, and Pitt responded in this one with a 15-6 spurt. A three-point play by Wright after an acrobatic layup and a free throw by Patterson moved Pitt within 19-15 with 7 minutes left in the first half.

Syracuse boosted the lead back to as many as 12 points on Melo's dunk with 2:24 to go and led 35-26 at halftime. The Orange had eight blocks, forced 11 turnovers, and had nine assists on 14-of-27 shooting (51.9 percent) while holding Pitt to 10 of 31 (32.3 percent) from the field.