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.
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.”
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.
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