Pitt avoided what would have been the team's worst conference loss in the Petersen Events Center, coming up with some last-minute heroics in a 60-57 double-overtime loss to Virginia Tech.
Pitt improves to 20-4 overall on the season, 8-3 in the ACC. Virginia Tech would have had a program-defining win had they held on. The Hokies fall to 8-15 overall, 1-10 in ACC play.
Pitt had a great performance from the guard tandem of Cameron Wright and James Robinson. Wright led the way with 18, followed by Robinson's 16. Josh Newkirk came off the bench with 11.
A 5-12 effort from three-point range highlighted Jarell Eddie's 15 points. Former Montour standout Devin Wilson returned to his hometown to score 10.
Pitt jumped out to an early 13-5 lead, behind three-pointers. Pitt was perfect from beyond the arc in the first four minutes of the game. They started off 5-6 from the field overall, in building an early eight-point lead.
Virginia Tech rallied back with a 6-0 run, cutting Pitt's lead to 13-11, in just a two-minute span. Pitt missed its only shot attempt during this stretch. The Hokies capitalized off Pitt three turnovers, all of which led to points.
The Hokies took a 14-13 lead, its first of the game, on a three-pointer from Ben Emelogu. It would be a five-minute scoring drought for Pitt before Wright took one to the hole, drawing a foul in the process. His three-point lead gave Pitt the lead back, 16-14.
Eddie got the lead back for the Hokies twice on three-pointers. After Newkirk answered with one for Pitt, giving the Panthers a 21-19 lead with four minutes left in the half, Eddie answered a second time, putting Virginia Tech back up 22-21.
Despite a big opening lead for Pitt, the two teams changed leads seven times in the first half. For Pitt, turnovers were key in allowing the Hokies to come back and take the lead. For Virginia Tech, it was an 0-3 stretch from the field that allowed Pitt to regain the lead.
Pitt converted three, three-point plays in the first half. The Hokies weren't in foul trouble, but by committing fouls on converted Pitt shots, and the Panthers tacking on those free throws, it was a big factor in Pitt regaining the lead in the first half.
Newkirk and Zanna converted and-ones on consecutive possessions for Pitt, giving them a 27-22 lead, with just under two minutes to play in the half.
Though Virginia Tech answered with a couple of baskets, Pitt took a 27-26 lead in to halftime.
Despite the strong start--5-6 from the field, including 3-3 from three-point range--Pitt shot just 5-16 in the final 15 minutes of the half overall, and just1-8 from three-point range. The good news, they assisted on all 10 first-half field goals. They knew where the good looks were. It was simply a matter of converting them.
Virginia Tech opened the second half on a 8-2 run, taking a 34-29 lead. Emelogu got things rolling, hitting another three-pointer to open the scoring for the second half.
Pitt went on another long drought--four minutes--before its first field goal of the half, again from Wright.
Still, the Hokies were in control. Pitt's shooting woes contributed, but even in other areas such as rebounding--typical strong suits--Pitt wasn't converting. Cadaran Raines missed an inside look. After the ball bounced around twice, Raines put it back in, keeping Virginia Tech up 36-34.
Robinson hit a long range jumper from the top of the key, tying the game back up at 36-36, approaching the halfway point of the first half. It was also the closest the team had been to a lead since leading at halftime.
Eddie hit his fourth three-pointer of the game, keeping Pitt away from regaining that lead, a 39-36 Virginia Tech lead, now under ten minutes to play.
Pitt did gain that lead on a big three pointer from Robinson, Pitt led 41-39, following a stretch of three minutes with no turnovers, no points and two missed field goals.
Wilson was fouled on Virginia Tech's next possession. He converted both shots, tying it back up at 41-41.
Then it was Wright, who not only led Pitt in scoring for the day, but was also coming up with big plays on defense. Wright chased down a loose ball. In the process, he dove out of bonus, feeding ahead to Newkirk. Wright was able to step on the scorer's table, not knocking anyone down in the process. Moore importantly, Newkirk found his way to the basket, regaining the lead for Pitt, 43-41.
It was the type of play that either team needed. Neither team was shooting particularly well. Neither team was rebounding well. Both teams were turning the ball over. Virginia Tech had been able to keep the lead for much of the second half. They couldn't put Pitt away because of their own sloppy play.
Therfore, an actual good hustle play like Wright's swung momentum quickly. Pitt built its lead to 44-41, thanks to a free throw on it's next possession.
Eddie, though, answered with his fifth three-pointer of the day, tying it up at 44-44.
Raines, as he did earlier, added a nice finish inside. A little more contested, but with a much smoother finish. He put Virginia Tech back up 46-44, now with under three minutes to go.
A couple of free throws by Joey VanZegeren gave the Hokies a 48-44 lead with 40 seconds left.
That's when Robinson's instincts went to work for Pitt, on the other end. He hit a three from the corner with 33.4 seconds left, and drawing a foul and converted his free throw shot, tying it up at 48-48.
Virginia Tech looked to hold for the last shot. Eddie had the ball just inside the top of the circle, before Wright stripped the ball out of his hands. Pitt had possession with 2.7 seconds left.
Pitt was able to in-bound the ball. However, Wright's lunge from just across half court, fell short, sending the game to overtime.
Neither team scored until Raines converted a pair of free throws, well over two minutes into the overtime frame. The Hokies led 50-48.
After Wilson was called for a flagrant foul on Patterson, Pitt had a chance to tie it. However, Patterson missed both. As Pitt maintained the 50-48 lead, Robinson drew a foul underneath. His pair made it a 52-50 lead, 1:23 left in the extra frame.
Both teams combined to go 0-5 for the field, through the first four minutes of overtime. That trend continued on Virginia Tech's next possession. Wilson was fouled by Wright, who then converted his pair of free throws, tying it back up at 52-52.
Patterson missed a long three-pointer that would have won it with 11 seconds left. His attempt fell way short, and was rebounded by Wilson.
Wilson, on the other hand, drove through the lane, and looked like he was fouled on the play. Nothing was called, and Virginia Tech want able to get a shot off, sending us to a second overtime.
While Patterson missed that three-pointer in the first overtime, he did get the first shot of the second overtime, the first field goal for either team in any of the extra frames. Pitt took a 54-52 lead.
In the end, it was some good defensive play from the guards that helped seal the win. Robinson chased down a loose ball off a Virginia Tech miss, who then fed I up t Wright. Wright looked like he was on his way to another smooth layup, but he was fouled. His free throws made it a 58-54 Pitt lead.
Newkirk then came down with a couple of big defensive rebounds on the next two series. Though his first didn't lead to any Pitt points, he drew the foul on his second. He converted one of the two free throws, making it a 59-55 Pitt lead with under a minute to play in the second overtime.
Newkirk added a third defensive rebound in the overtime, this time leading to two free throws, as he built Pitt's lead to 62-57.
Both teams combined to shoot 1-19 from the field in the two overtimes; 1-6 for Pitt, 0-13 for Virginia Tech.
Almost identical scores in back-to-back wins for Pitt, but also back-to-back overtime wins. It's the first time since 1998 that Pitt has had overtime in consecutive games.