PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Game 2 of the College Basketball Invitational Wendsday night at the Petersen Events Center could have a very similar ending to Game 1.

In fact, it was set up just right.

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Just like in Monday night’s 67-66 loss, Pitt led Washington State at halftime — this time, 29-20. What’s more, the Panthers were without senior guard Ashton Gibbs, who sat out with a sore ankle.

Instead of blowing the lead, though, Pitt held off a second-half charge from the Cougars and won, 57-53, forcing a decisive Game 3 Friday night at 7 p.m.

Forward Talib Zanna led the Panthers in scoring with 14 points while pulling down eight rebounds. Lamar Patterson added 12 points and Nasir Robinson tallied 10 as other Panthers in double-figures.

Pitt led by as many as 10, 42-32, midway through the second half before Washington State went on an 8-0 run to close to within two points, 42-40, with 7:10 to play.

The game remained a two-possession contest the rest of the way with WSU eventually grabbing a two-point lead, 51-49, with 1:22 left in regulation. Patterson followed with a jumper and he and Zanna each knocked down two free throws to give Pitt a 55-49 lead with just 14 seconds left.

The Panthers seemed to have sealed up a trip to Game 3, but guard John Johnson was called for a flagrant foul just six seconds later — one that sent the entire crowd into a frenzy of boos and jeers.

Abe Lodwick hit two free throws and Washington State retained possession. It took just three seconds for Reggie Moore to hit a jumper to close the gap to two points, 55-53, with three seconds remaining.

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On the next inbounds, Robinson went to heave a pass past the mid court line, but it was picked off by Moore, who fell and failed to stay in bounds.

Pitt got the ball back and Patterson hit two more free throws to seal the win.

Moore led Washington State with 18 points. Lodwick and DaVonte Lacy added nine points each for the Cougars.

Pitt held WSU to a 17-of-39 (42.3percent) shooting performance, far lower than in Game 1.

Pitt and Washington State will face off in Game 3 Friday to decide the CBI champion. The game will be at the Petersen Events Center and tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Game 3 can be heard live on Sports Radio 93-7 The FAN and it can be seen on HDNet.

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Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog