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Pitt's first season in the ACC: fast start ends with a familiar finish


Florida guard Kasey Hill (0) drives to the basket as Pittsburgh forward Lamar Patterson (21) defends during the first half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (The Associated Press)

Pittsburgh's first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference looked an awful lot like the school's last handful of years in the Big East.

The Panthers raced to a quick start, sagged in the middle only to recover with a spirited run through the conference tournament. Their momentum came to an abrupt end Saturday, when top-seeded Florida crushed Pitt in the second half of a 61-45 win in the NCAA round of 32.

Pitt finished 26-10 but failed to reach the Sweet 16 for the fifth straight season.

Coach Jamie Dixon credited the strong play of fifth-year center Talib Zanna and senior forward Lamar Patterson for giving the team an identity. It's a role that will have to be filled next season with both players graduating.