PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Pitt used its final home game of the season to snap a five-game losing streak and usher out seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson with an 89-69 win over St. John’s Wednesday night.
Gibbs led the way with 19 points. Robinson added eight points and four rebounds, as Pitt outrebounded the Red Storm, 31-17, setting a physical advantage from the start of the game.
After punching back and forth throughout the first half, Pitt (16-14, 5-12 Big East) surged ahead to start the second half. The Panthers opened on an 11-2 run to take a 49-35 lead just over 2:30 into the half after leading by five at halftime.
Pitt’s second half lead grew to as many as 23 points — 67-44 — midway through.
The game seemed all but over, but St. John’s kept pressuring and eventually cut the Pitt lead down to 12, 74-62, with 5:07 left in the game. Shortly after the Panthers’ lead grew to 23, the Red Storm (13-17, 6-11 Big East) implemented a full-court press, which forced Pitt turnovers.
However, each time it seemed they would cut the lead to single digits, Gibbs came up with a big shot. When St. John’s cut the Pitt lead to 13 with 6:28 left, Gibbs responded with two free throws and jumper to push the lead to 17.
When the Pitt lead was cut to 12 with 5:07 remaining, Gibbs hit another jumper on the other end to push the lead back to 14. That second jumper was the catalyst to a 10-0 Pitt run that put the game out of reach and allowed Pitt coach Jamie Dixon to empty his bench.
Gibbs was removed to a standing ovation from the Petersen Events Center crowd.
Dante Taylor was right behind Gibbs with 17 points and pulled in eight rebounds. J.J. Moore scored 14 points and Lamar Patterson added 13 as other Panthers in double-figures.
Pitt has one regular season game left — noon Saturday at UConn — before the Big East Tournament.