Pitt falls to Marquette in overtime at Petersen
In the instant Lamar Patterson released his shot from the top of the key, all of Pitt's shortcomings against Marquette were erased. When the 3-pointer swished through the net as regulation expired, it sent Petersen Events Center into pandemonium and the game into overtime.
That's when Marquette coach Buzz Williams told his team, “Guys, this is what we pray for. This is what I talk about all the time. Our character is going to be revealed. I don't know who we are, but we'll find out in the next five minutes.”
The Golden Eagles did what Pitt could not, sinking 13 of 16 free throws in the extra period and pulling through in a close game for a 74-67 Big East victory Saturday afternoon before 12,513 at the Pete.
It was Pitt's second consecutive home loss, and the Panthers (13-4, 1-3) now would likely need to win at least eight of their final 14 Big East games to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive after a 10-year tourney streak was snapped last season. Pitt travels to Villanova (11-5, 2-1) on Wednesday.
The Panthers could blame this loss on their 13 of 26 shooting from the foul line. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon did not, however, focusing instead on getting outrebounded, 38-33. The Panthers have been outrebounded in all three of their Big East losses.
“We just simply didn't get it done,” Dixon said. “The rebounding stands out to me. I know that people will point to the free throws. Obviously, that was a big component of it. … You can point to a lot of different things.”
The Panthers played all but 3:30 without senior point guard Tray Woodall, who suffered a concussion in a head-to-head collision with Marquette 6-foot-1 guard Derrick Wilson. Redshirt freshman Durand Johnson scored a career-high 10 points off the bench, including a 3-point play that gave Pitt its only lead, 28-27, with 1:56 remaining in the first half.
Vander Blue scored 22 points, regularly beating the Panthers off the dribble and making 9 of 10 free throws. Davante Gardner added 13 points and eight rebounds for Marquette, which has won five in a row.
Pitt trailed, 57-54, with 1.2 seconds to play when a wide-open Patterson, who finished with career highs of 22 points and six 3-pointers, took an inbounds pass from freshman point guard James Robinson (12 points) and drained a buzzer-beating 3 from the top of the key.
Pitt made 3 of 8 shots from the field and 2 of 7 free throws in overtime.
“I think we did it to ourselves, really,” Patterson said. “We took a couple errant shots to start the overtime. So, Marquette really didn't do much. They just did what they did and made free throws. We hurt ourselves.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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