Lamar Patterson scored 12 points and No. 23 Pittsburgh pulled away late for a 56-46 victory over Seton Hall on Monday night.
Freshman center Steven Adams added eight points, 15 rebounds and two blocks for the Panthers (19-5, 7-4 Big East), who won for the sixth time in their last seven games by simply surviving on a night they struggled to get into any sort of rhythm.
Cameron Wright scored six of his eight points during a game-ending 18-8 surge that prevented Pitt from suffering a letdown following an emotional win over Syracuse on Saturday.
Fuquan Edwin led the Pirates (13-10, 2-8) with 23 points but was slowed after injuring his right ankle midway through the second half. Seton Hall shot just 33 percent (14 of 42) from the field and made just two baskets over the final 10 minutes.
Pitt finally found some breathing room midway through the second half after Seton Hall took a 39-38 lead. Patterson hit a layup off a nice feed from Adams to put the Panthers in front for good and Adams followed with a nifty spin move for a dunk.
The quickly developing 7-footer hung on the rim, however, and received a technical foul for his efforts. Seton Hall’s Kyle Smyth hit both free throws to pull the Pirates back within 42-41, but things changed for Seton Hall after Edwin landed awkwardly on his right ankle while battling for a rebound with 7:38 remaining.
Edwin hobbled to the bench and returned to the game a minute later after a quick examination, but he wasn’t the same.
Neither were the Pirates.
Though Edwin would somehow make a lay-up while basically playing on one foot, it marked Seton Hall’s only bucket for a 10-minute span until Haralds Karlis put home a meaningless dunk in the waning seconds.
The Panthers vaulted back into the rankings following a 65-55 upset of the Orange over the weekend, the kind of victory Pitt needed to give its steady but hardly spectacular resume a boost.
Barely 48 hours after the season’s biggest triumph, the Panthers flirted with giving away all of their hard-won positive momentum.
The Pirates came in losers of seven of their last eight and were playing without sophomore guard Aaron Crosby, who missed the game for personal reasons. Minus its third-leading scorer, Seton Hall relied heavily on Edwin to handle most of the scoring and a frenetic, borderline out-of-control defense to force Pitt into a series of rushed shots and sloppy turnovers.
The Panthers took a quick seven-point lead then went more than 6 minutes without a field goal. The team that began the night second in assist/turnover ratio had just six assists on six turnovers in a disjointed opening 20 minutes that ended with an ugly 24-all .