PITTSBURGH (AP) — Xavier Johnson scored seven of his 13 points in the final 3 minutes as Pittsburgh held off Miami 62-57 on Sunday.
Trey McGowens led Pitt (14-8, 5-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 17 points. Au’Diese Toney scored 15 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for the Panthers, who snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Hurricanes.
Rodney Miller tied a career high with 16 points for Miami (11-10, 3-8). Isaiah Wong added 15 points, Harlond Beverly chipped in 11 and DJ Vasiljevic scored 10 to go with nine rebounds but the shorthanded Hurricanes lost for the fifth time in six games when they couldn’t control Johnson late.
Both teams played without key contributors. The Hurricanes played their third straight game without leading scorer Chris Lykes, who is dealing with a groin injury. Pitt junior guard Ryan Murphy sat out his first game of the season after sustaining a concussion in practice this week.
The Hurricanes trailed by as much as 10 before Miller fueled a 10-2 burst early in the second half that briefly gave Miami a 41-40 lead and set up a taut final 15 minutes for two teams scrambling to find traction in the wide-open ACC.
Johnson, however, did enough late to help the Panthers end a two-game losing streak. The sophomore point guard shook off a tough day from the field – at one point he was 3 of 16 from the floor – to help Pitt beat the Hurricanes for the first time since 2014.
Johnson started his late surge with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Pitt up 54-53. He followed with a pull-up jumper from the free thrown line then snaked his way to the basket for a lay-up with 40 seconds left that put the Panthers in front 58-55.
The teams traded free throws down the stretch. Miami had a chance to tie it when it got the ball with 16 seconds to go but a long heave from well behind the 3-point line by Vasiljevic smacked off the right side of the rim. McGowens chased down the rebound and made both free throws with 2 seconds to go to preserve the victory.
Miami: Miller appears to be coming on. The 7-foot junior has scored in double figures in five of the Hurricanes’ last six games.
Pitt: If the Panthers want to force their way into the postseason conversation, they need to avoid missteps at home. Four days after an emotional loss at Duke, Pitt stifled the Hurricanes for long stretches to overcome another up-and-down offensive performance by Johnson and McGowens.
Miami: Hosts N.C. State on Wednesday. The Wolfpack beat the Hurricanes 80-63 on Jan. 15.
Pitt: Travels to Notre Dame on Wednesday. The Panthers won the last meeting between the two schools, edging the Fighting Irish 56-53 in the 2019 regular season finale.
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