A Late Panther Rally Comes up Short 
 (Pittsburgh Pa)-  This afternoon the University of Pittsburgh lost to the Virginia Cavaliers 59-56 and now  an NCAA tournament berth may be pretty much an afterthought, unless Pitt goes on crazy ACC  tournament run. Virginia  (18-7 10-5) and their top ranked defense ( 52 points per game scoring defense ) were looking to improve on their 19 wins. Pitt on the other hand  lost its’ last  3 games and were trying to avoid a loss at home. The Panthers achilles tendon has been defending shots from beyond the three point line. Most recently Pitt has been outscored 102-39 from 3 point range.
Pitt Big man Terrell Brown (#21) goes up for a shot in the midst of the Cavaliers defense (Photo Credit: Vince Butts UMT Sports )
Speaking of the number three ; The Panthers came up  3 points short and the young team from Oakland appeared to run out of gas before rallying late in the contest. Pitt has now lost 4 straight. And is 2-6 this month. Last year Pitt was 0-7 in February. Point Guard Xavier Johnson had 16 points  on Knocking down 6 of his 10 shots from the floor. Johnson did get support from  Au’diese Toneys‘ 13 points (6 of 8 shooting ); Toney also had a big 3 point play in the final minute that  to cut the UVA lead to two. The 6’6″ Sophomore  guard commented on the Panthers play
  ” Its frustrating, but at the same time we are all here together. We just have to find a way to get out of this hole we are in now. Only thing we can do is move forward, and just keep pushing and grinding through it.”
Virginia Guard Tony Clark (#0) Takes a shot from beyond the arc in the Cavaliers 3 point win over the Panthers ( Photo Credit: Vince Butts UMT Sports)
Tony Clark lead  Virginia with 17pts. As the  Cavaliers held off a late surge for the win. Pitt was down 14pts in the 2nd half. Pitt fought back with a 7-0 run in the last 2 minutes. Shooting Guard  Trey McGowens missed a 3 point shot with less than 10 seconds remaining and Guard Ryan Murphy had a last chance look at the hoop ,but didn’t get his 3 point shot off before the buzzer sounded.
Pitt Center Terrell Brown Looking for two against the Cavaliers ( Photo Credit : Vince Butts -UMT Sports)
Clark was the spark plug for UVA  Shooting  6 of 11 from the floor and  2 of 3 from 3 point  range . The Sophomore Guard from California also led the Virginia defense  that held Pitt to 38% shooting and only  3 of 15 from beyond the arc. Pitt was down only 2 at halftime. But  missed 12 of its first 13 shots in the second half and the Cavaliers took advantage of the opportunity. Virginia Forward Mamadi Diakite finished with a double -double 10 points and  10rebounds. The Team from Charlottesville also got bench support from  Senior Guard Braxton Key who  chipped in 10 points.
The victory was the fourth in a row for UVA  in conference  play for the first time this season.
Meanwhile Pitt  will host Syracuse on Feb 26th in the Panthers final home game of the season. Pitt is 11-6 at home this season.
Keith Platt Jr.
Urban Media Today Sports

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