MINNEAPOLIS — Marquette must have been a little tired about hearing how Pittsburgh plays such good defense and works so hard.
Dwyane Wade scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half to help the third-seeded Golden Eagles to a 77-74 victory over No. 2 seed Pittsburgh in the Midwest Regional semifinals Thursday night.
"Everybody from ESPN was saying Pittsburgh was going to win," said Marquette's Robert Jackson, who had 16 points. "We are a blue-collar team that works hard. We haven't been practicing 3 1/2 hours a day for nothing."
Coach Tom Crean has the Golden Eagles in the regional finals for the first time since 1977, when the Al McGuire-coached team won the national title. Marquette (26-5) will play top-seeded Kentucky on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Final Four in New Orleans. The Wildcats beat Wisconsin 63-57.
"It's a hard-nosed defensive approach," Crean said. "You have to rebound. It's unselfishness. It's getting to the free-throw line. It's playing with a ton of enthusiasm and energy."
Chevon Troutman scored seven of his 15 points in the final 2:56 to lead a Pitt rally, but Marquette hung on and the Panthers were eliminated in the round of 16 for the second straight season.
"This year is tougher because we worked so much harder in the offseason," said Jaron Brown, who had 14 points. "This is tough. We expected a lot."
Travis Diener, who scored 55 points in the Golden Eagles' first two victories over Holy Cross and Missouri, was held to four points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Pittsburgh (28-5) trailed by 10 with 3:56 to go but scored nine straight points — seven by Troutman — to pull within one three times. Wade made sure Marquette didn't lose the lead.
"Everybody on our team thought we had it," Pitt's Jaron Brown said. "They gained their composure and came back with a bucket."
With the shot clock running down, Wade drove the lane and sank a twisting layup high off the glass to make it 75-72 with 23.4 seconds remaining.
"I used a move I hadn't used all year," he said. "It just came to me at that moment."
The teams then traded free throws, and Brandin Knight missed a tying 3-point attempt with about 4 seconds left.
After the rebound, Diener missed a pair of foul shots with 2.3 seconds left, but Carl Krauser's attempt from halfcourt at the buzzer sailed over the basket as Marquette students stormed the court in their gold T-shirts.
Wade has led Marquette's renaissance in coach Crean's fourth year. After a 15-14 mark in each of Crean's first two seasons, the Golden Eagles went 26-7 last season and won the Conference USA regular-season title this year.
Donatas Zavackas, the Panthers' top 3-point shooter, picked up his third foul early in the second half and was upset when coach Ben Howland took him out. He pouted on the floor at the end of Pitt's bench for much of the half — refusing to go back in — and was scolded late in the game by Krauser.
Knight helped lead the Panthers to a 57-11 record over the past two seasons — tied with Duke for the nation's best.
Knight's brother, Brevin, plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.