PITTSBURGH — No. 5 Pitt nearly blew a double-digit second-half lead at Providence Tuesday night, but managed to come away with an 83-79 win.

With just under 10 minutes remaining, Pitt (14-1, 2-0 Big East) held a 61-50 lead and seemed it would continue to pile on a much younger Providence (11-5, 0-3) team. The opposite was the case, though, and the Friars used their full court press to force Pitt in to mistakes that led to baskets.

Marshon Brooks scored four of his game high 28 points to help Providence pull to within 65-61 with 5:27 left. The two teams traded baskets and the Friars continued to chip away at Pitt’s lead until Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 1:31 left for a 76-73 lead.

The Panthers continued to trail by one point, 76-75, with 51 seconds left in the game. But Gerard Coleman turned the ball over for the Friars and Travon Woodall — in for Brad Wanamaker, who fouled out with 1:59 remaining — hit a 3-pointer to put the Panthers ahead, 78-76, with 37 seconds left. Woodall hit four free throws and Gary McGhee hit two of his own in the final 30 seconds while the Pitt defense held for the win.

McGhee had a monster second half, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Gilbert Brown kept the Panthers clicking in the first half, scoring 17 of his 19 points in the opening stanza. Brown finished the game shooting 5-of-6 from 3-point range. All told, the Panthers shot 10-of-19 from behind the arc, the most important of which came from Woodall.

Pitt returns to action Saturday against Marquette at 2 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog

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