- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon decided he’d seen enough players limping around and elected to use rest instead of practice before the Panthers faced Boston College.

It certainly worked for 6-foot-9 center Talib Zanna.

Zanna scored 11 of his 21 points in the closing 9 ½ minutes to help Pittsburgh snap a three-game losing streak with a 66-59 win over Boston College on Wednesday night.

“That’s what he had been doing earlier,” Dixon said. “The fact is he was back and played well tonight.”

Like his Panthers teammates, Zanna had been going through a rough stretch since rolling his left ankle in a home loss against Virginia earlier this month, but he carried the Panthers down the stretch.

“We know we can always depend on Talib,” guard Cameron Wright said. “A lot of guys were saying he had been going through a little bit of a slump. It happens in the game of basketball sometimes. He bounced back and that’s what he did tonight. He rebounded the heck out of the basketball, shot-faked and got it above the rim.”

Lamar Patterson added 16 points and Wright 14 for the Panthers (21-7, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference).

“We always feel like Talib is so strong and quick that we can have the advantage,” Patterson said. “He did a great job today. He’s been battling little nicks, but it’s that time of the year where you can’t worry about it and get these (wins).”

The Panthers, who had shot under 40 percent overall in their last seven games, shot 50 percent from the floor (23 of 46) and outrebounded BC 33-18.

“We know the history of Pitt basketball is they always play physical,” said BC forward Ryan Anderson, who had 10 points. “We knew they were going to come out and play physical from the start and we just didn’t match them the whole game.”

Dixon was just happy the rest helped his team.

“We didn’t practice (Tuesday) because so many guys were limping around,” Dixon said. “I didn’t want to take the chance that anyone would turn an ankle. I hope I don’t have to do that again.”

Olivier Hanlan led Boston College (7-21, 3-12) with 25 points and Patrick Heckmann had 15. The Eagles have lost seven of their last eight games.

“We don’t know exactly how we’re going to win games day in and day out,” BC coach Steve Donahue said of the rough season. “I think we’re getting there.”

Hanlan reached the 1,000-point mark late in the first half, becoming just the third player in school history to accomplish the feat as a sophomore.

Pittsburgh’s 14-point lead was sliced to 49-45 on Hanlan’s two free throws with 8:50 to play, but less than a minute later Heckmann was called for a flagrant 1 foul on Zanna, who hit both from the free-throw line.

After Joe Rahon missed a 3 from the top for BC, Zanna hit two more from the line, pushing Pitt’s lead to 53-45 with just under 7 minutes left.

The Eagles never narrowed the deficit below a two-possession game the rest of the way.

When the Eagles did slice it to 59-53, Zanna had a three-point play and later added a putback to help the Panthers hang on.

The Panthers had pushed their nine-point halftime edge to 40-26 on Patterson’s 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the second half. But BC scored 11 of the next 13 points, closing it to five on Garland Owens’ free throw with just over 15 ½ minutes to play.

Pittsburgh led 35-26 at halftime.

The Panthers shot 53.8 percent in the opening half (14 of 26) and dominated on the glass, collecting as many offensive rebounds (seven) as BC had total.

The only thing Pitt didn’t do well in the first half was handling the basketball as it committed eight turnovers, more than half, though, came in the early minutes.

BC’s 2-3 zone gave Pitt trouble for about 2 ½ minutes. After Dixon called a quick timeout, the Panthers took control with a 28-8 run over the next 12 minutes that was filled with wide-open shots and transition baskets. Patterson scored eight points during the spree.

BC was coming off an embarrassing 27-point loss at Miami on Saturday, a game after shocking then-No. 1 Syracuse on the road in overtime last Wednesday.

Pittsburgh’s losing streak started with a buzzer-beating loss at home against Syracuse on Feb 12.

The Panthers have won 20 games for 13 straight seasons.

It was the first ACC matchup for the schools, who last met as members of the old Big East in 2005.

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