FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Justin Champagnie had 21 points to lead Pittsburgh to a 72-59 victory over Northwestern in the Fort Myers Tip-Off championship game on Wednesday night.
Eric Hamilton added 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Panthers (6-2) prevailed in a game that featured former Duke teammates and assistant coaches Jeff Capel and Chris Collins.
Pat Spencer had 18 points and Bob Buie 13 for Northwestern (3-3).
Champagnie hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half to push Pitt’s lead to 56-43 with 5½ minutes to play. The Wildcats cut the deficit back to six with just under three minutes left but a 9-0 surge, with Champagnie hitting another 3, sealed the deal. After a slow start, the Panthers made 7 of 25 treys. At one point, the Panthers were 2 of 33 behind the arc in the tournament.
A 13-4 run by Pitt gave it a 17-8 lead in the first half, which ended with the Panthers on top 25-23.
Northwestern: The Wildcats had a number of good looks against Pitt but couldn’t knock them down. Pete Nance, who averaged 15 points coming into the tournament, scored just 12 in the two games. He’s going to be needed to get back to double digits.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers, who play at Louisville on Dec. 6, needed a good showing to build confidence for ACC play. Pitt has started with a win over Florida State.
Northwestern’s Pat Spencer earned all-tournament honors after having 41 points, 11 assists and four 3-pointers in two games. He had 23 points, eight assists and made all three of his 3-pointers in a 78-51 win over Bradley.
His best sport is lacrosse. After earning all-American honors for four consecutive seasons at Loyola (Md.) where he finished with the all-time NCAA assists record, Spencer earned the Tewaaraton Award last year, lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
Northwestern will play at Boston College on Tuesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Pittsburgh will play host to Rutgers in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday.
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