PITTSBURGH – Pitt remains in search of a quality win for its NCAA tournament resume.
Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon came off screen and drained a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Cavaliers to a 48-45 victory Sunday.
“The kid hit a tough shot,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “He was going sideways and hit it from 25 feet. He made the play.”
The play is designed for either Brogdon or Joe Harris, the team’s top 3-point shooter. Harris was covered on the play. Brogdon rubbed off a double curl to hit the shot well beyond the 3-point line.
“We run that play a lot and we never make it in practice,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “I guess it’s better to make it in a game.”
Brogdon finished 16 points for Virginia (8-1, 17-5), which maintained sole possession of second place in the ACC. The Cavaliers have won five consecutive games since losing at Duke Jan. 13.
Pitt also had a bit of misfortune early in the game when senior forward Talib Zanna had to exit the game with a left ankle injury. Zanna, who averages 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, came back into the game, but he had a noticeable limp for the remainder of the contest. He finished the game with two points and three rebounds.
“He certainly didn’t look explosive,” Dixon said. “I’m not sure if it was advantageous to have him in there.”
Pitt (18-4, 6-3) lost consecutive games for the first time this season and fell into a third-place tie with Duke in the conference standings. The Panthers have lost three of their past five after opening with a 16 wins in their first 17 games.
Pitt freshman Jamel Artis led the Panthers with 11 points, but he missed a wide open layup with 10 seconds remaining after grabbing an offensive rebound. A bucket would have given the Panthers the lead.
“I didn’t finish,” Artis said. “I have to finish.”
Neither team held more than a four-point lead at any time throughout the game in a matchup of two of the ACC’s top defensive teams.
Cameron Wright made a 3-pointer as the shock clock expired for a 44-41 lead with 6:52 remaining. Wright fumbled a pass, picked the ball off his shoetops and released in one awkward motion to make an improbable shot.
Virginia did not let the bad luck affect their psyche. The Cavaliers tied the score again after London Perrantes made two free throws with 4:47 to go and the Cavaliers, who lead the conference in scoring defense at 55 points per game, did not allow Pitt to make a field goal in the game’s last 6:52.
“We came up with big stops,” Bennett said. “That was a hard-fought game, not a lot of easy looks. Each team thought maybe they’d have a chance to separate but then the other team would make a play. It stayed tight. You knew it would come down to a score and a stop.”