NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Young scored 17 points and fellow senior Jamel Artis added 11 points and nine rebounds as Pitt rode its two seniors to a 61-59 victory against Georgia Tech on Tuesday night in the first round on the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
The 14th-seeded Panthers (16-16) play sixth-seeded and No. 21 Virginia on Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
No. 11 seed Georgia Tech (17-15) closed the season losing four of five, putting its hopes of earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament in peril.
Artis and Young were kept out of the starting lineup and on the bench for the first 10 minutes of Pitt’s season-finale loss to Virginia on Saturday for what coach Kevin Stallings called a violation of team rules.
The team’s top two scorers returned to starting five and hit some big shots late. Young gave Pitt the lead with a 3 with 4:00 left in the second half. After Georgia Tech tied it at 51 moments later, Artis dropped in a 3 — his only make in eight attempts from long range — that made it 54-51 Pitt. Young leaned in for two more with a minute left to make it 56-51 and Artis made a couple of free throws with 43 seconds left to put Pitt up seven.
Georgia Tech had a last chance to go the length of the court with 1.4 seconds left, but a long inbounds pass was deflected away by the Panthers.
Pittsburgh: Stallings said he was trying to build culture when he sat his seniors in the season finale.
Georgia Tech: While coach Josh Pastner’s first season at Georgia Tech has to qualify as a success, the ending will sting. The Yellow Jackets had wins against North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame, and Pastner won ACC coach of the year, but losses to North Carolina State and Pitt down the stretch will likely mean seventh straight season without an NCAA bid.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers beat Virginia the first time they played in January, but were routed 67-42 in Charlottesville.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets will probably be relegated to the NIT.
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