PITTSBURGH – The No. 5 Pitt Panthers outlasted cross-town foe Robert Morris Tuesday night in a 74-53 win.
Pitt (6-0) held just a 5-point lead, 44-39, with under 11 minutes left but utilized its depth and scoring ability as the game wore on to pull away from the Colonials (2-2).
“That’s what we do,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said after the game. “We do it game after game – road, neutral, home. Execute down the stretch.
“I think execution is key.”
After a media timeout with 10:53 remaining, Gilbert Brown, Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker hit 3-pointers in succession to extend the Panthers’ lead to 53-41. Gibbs led the Panthers with 20 points, Wanamaker added 17 and Brown tallied 11. The three combined to shoot 7-of-13 from 3-point range.
Another media timeout gave Robert Morris time to regroup with 7:41 left, but the opposite happened.
Right out of the break Gilbert Brown, who finished with 11 points, threw down a poster-type dunk and was fouled. Brown missed the free throw that followed, but Gary McGhee got the rebound, made his shot and was fouled.
McGhee made good on his free throw and all of a sudden the Panthers lead was 58-41 with 7:07 left.
“That whole possession right there, that was a good possession for us,” McGhee, who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, said. “Gil getting the dunk (and) pushing our lead up a little bit. With the offensive rebound, that kind of busted it open for us and helped us come up with this on.”
Before Pitt’s big second-half push, both teams remained rather close. It was a game of runs for the first 30 minutes with the Panthers pressing and the Colonials answering right back.
Pitt built a 13-point lead in the first 11:22, 24-11, but saw it cut to five three different times before halftime. Robert Morris went on an 8-0 run to close to 24-19 and maintained that gap until halftime, 33-28.
Pitt went on a 9-0 run to start the second half but, once again, Robert Morris came storming back to within five, 44-39, with just under 11 minutes left.
The Colonials couldn’t hold on from there. Brown, Gibbs and Wanamaker nailed their 3-pointers as Robert Morris missed assignments and the Panthers rolled to victory.
“That’s kind of the start of the end for us because we didn’t make those plays,” Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said. “If you wanna compete in this game and you wanna have a chance to win a game like this, you have to come up with those plays.”
- Nasir Robinson played 23 minutes, pulling in 11 rebounds and scoring 2 points.
- Pitt outrebounded Robert Morris 51-36.
- Robert Morris’s Russell Johnson led the Colonials with 15 points, but was held to just 5 points in the second half.
- Pitt outscored the Colonials in the paint, 30-16, on second chance points, 25-11, and on fast break points, 13-0.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog