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Pitt loses to Wisconsin in 1st round of NCAA Tournament

| Friday, March 18, 2016, 9:09 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — No. 10 seed Pitt stumbled through a sluggish second half and suffered a 47-43 loss to No. 7 Wisconsin in an East Regional matchup at Scottrade Center between two offensively challenged teams.

The Panthers got into a slugging match against the methodical, plodding Badgers — who love to get down and dirty — and lost.

“Defensively, we did what we wanted to do,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “It came down to making some shots and not making some shots.”

Pitt (21-12) scored only 21 second-half points and shot 37.5 percent in their second-lowest scoring game of the season. The Panthers had 41 points in a loss at Louisville in January.

“We found ourselves in a defensive battle and handled it good for about 35 minutes,” said Sheldon Jeter, a junior from Beaver Falls. “At the end of the game, the missed shots started to bother us.”

The biggest miss was James Robinson's layup attempt with the Panthers trailing 44-43 and a chance to win in the closing seconds.

Robinson, who scored seven points on 3-of-15 shooting and added a game-high 11 rebounds, scampered upcourt after Wisconsin missed a free throw.

Robinson collided with teammate Michael Young, and his shot from the lane glanced off the rim and was rebounded by Wisconsin's Ethan Happ, who scored a game-high 15 points and had nine rebounds.

Wisconsin made two more free throws to seal the victory.

“It came down to us missing shots we normally make,” Robinson said.

Pitt's Big Three of Robinson, Young (six points) and Jamel Artis (13 points on 4-of-10 shooting and the only Pitt player in double figures) combined for 23 points and made 10 of 32 shots.

Jeter was the Panthers' second-leading scorer with nine points. Chris Jones, who returned to the starting lineup at shooting guard, scored all six of his points in the first half. Cameron Johnson, who started against Syracuse in the ACC Tournament, played 14 minutes and scored two points. Johnson shot 3 of 14 in his final two games.

Even with the Panthers playing strong defense, it wasn't enough.

Wisconsin (21-12), which faces the winner of Friday's late game between Xavier and Weber State on Sunday, won despite shooting only 32.1 percent. The Badgers opened the game missing nine of their first 10 attempts and improved to only 25 percent (6 of 24) at intermission.

Wisconsin's leading scorer, Nigel Hayes, was held to 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting. The Panthers defense was rock-solid for most of the game.

At key points, however, the defense faltered.

The Panthers had an early 20-8 lead, but Wisconsin clawed back into the game.

The Badgers' Vitto Brown delivered a crucial 3-pointer to slice Pitt's halftime lead to 22-16.

“That hurt us,” Dixon said. “We didn't finish at the end.”

“I made a defensive error and gave up the 3,” Jeter said.

What should have been a dominant first half for the Panthers began to unravel in the second half.

Wisconsin led for the first time, 25-24, on Happ's dunk, but the Panthers took a 26-25 lead on Young's putback. After Wisconsin made it 27-26, the Panthers parlayed an 8-2 run into a 34-29 lead on Jeter's jumper.

Pitt hit a cold shooting stretch and failed to extend the lead. Wisconsin went ahead for good at 42-40 on another Brown 3-pointer.

“We had a couple open looks that didn't go down,” Dixon said. “We wanted to increase that lead. Those were big. It kept them around.”

John Harris is a Tribune-Review staff writer Reach him at jharris@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jharris_trib.

Pitt's Jamel Artis hangs his head as the Panthers lose to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Jamel Artis hangs his head as the Panthers lose to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson and Michael Young almost run into each other on the last drive of the game against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson and Michael Young almost run into each other on the last drive of the game against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson is defended by Wisconsin's Ethan Happ and Zak Showalter (3) with time running out during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson is defended by Wisconsin's Ethan Happ and Zak Showalter (3) with time running out during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ dunks while Pitt's Michael Young and Sheldon Jeter look on during the second half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ dunks while Pitt's Michael Young and Sheldon Jeter look on during the second half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
The Pitt band plays during the Panthers' NCAA Tournament first-round game against Wisconsin on Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Pitt band plays during the Panthers' NCAA Tournament first-round game against Wisconsin on Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon urges on his players against Wisconsin in the first half of an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon urges on his players against Wisconsin in the first half of an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Michael Young blocks the shot of Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes in the second half during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young blocks the shot of Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes in the second half during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt mascot Roc greets football coach Pat Narduzzi during an NCAA Tournament first-round game against Wisconsin on Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt mascot Roc greets football coach Pat Narduzzi during an NCAA Tournament first-round game against Wisconsin on Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson is fouled by Wisconsin's Zak Showalter during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson is fouled by Wisconsin's Zak Showalter during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Chris Jones takes a first-half shot over Wisconsin's Ethan Happ (22) and Nigel Hayes during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Chris Jones takes a first-half shot over Wisconsin's Ethan Happ (22) and Nigel Hayes during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson and Wisconsin's Ethan Happ fight for a loose ball during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson and Wisconsin's Ethan Happ fight for a loose ball during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Rafael Maia fight for a rebound with Wisconsin's Charlie Thomas (15) and Ethan Happ during the first half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Rafael Maia fight for a rebound with Wisconsin's Charlie Thomas (15) and Ethan Happ during the first half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Alonzo Nelson-Ododa fights for a loose ball with Wisconsin's Ethan Happ during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Alonzo Nelson-Ododa fights for a loose ball with Wisconsin's Ethan Happ during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Wisconsin's Zak Showalter defends Pitt's Sheldon Jeter during the first half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Wisconsin's Zak Showalter defends Pitt's Sheldon Jeter during the first half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Damon Wilson (left) consoles James Robinson as they walk off the court with Rafael Mia (5) and Ryan Luther after losing to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Damon Wilson (left) consoles James Robinson as they walk off the court with Rafael Mia (5) and Ryan Luther after losing to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Michael Young hangs his head as the Panthers lose to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young hangs his head as the Panthers lose to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt players hang their heads from the bench as they lose to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt players hang their heads from the bench as they lose to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament first round Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Jamel Artis went 4 for 10 for a team high 13 points in Pitt's NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Wisconsin.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Jamel Artis went 4 for 10 for a team high 13 points in Pitt's NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Wisconsin.
Pitt's beats Wisconsin's Vitto Brown but can't finish the play in the second half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's beats Wisconsin's Vitto Brown but can't finish the play in the second half of their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson grabs a rebound over Wisconsin's Zak Showalter during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson grabs a rebound over Wisconsin's Zak Showalter during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Wisconsin's Vitto Brown defends Pitt's Michael Young during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Wisconsin's Vitto Brown defends Pitt's Michael Young during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson walks off the court past coach Jamie Dixon in the second half against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson walks off the court past coach Jamie Dixon in the second half against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Michael Young waits to get back in the game against Wisconsin in the second half during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young waits to get back in the game against Wisconsin in the second half during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Michael Young fights for a lose ball against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Michael Young fights for a lose ball against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Sheldon Jeter makes a 3-pointer against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Sheldon Jeter makes a 3-pointer against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's James Robinson grabs a rebound against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's James Robinson grabs a rebound against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ blocks the shot of Pitt's Sheldon Jeter during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ blocks the shot of Pitt's Sheldon Jeter during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has words for the officials in the first half against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has words for the officials in the first half against Wisconsin during an NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt's Alonzo Nelson-Ododa blocks the shot of Wisconsin's Zak Showalter in the second half during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Alonzo Nelson-Ododa blocks the shot of Wisconsin's Zak Showalter in the second half during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Pitt huddles after Wisconsin takes their first lead in the second half during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt huddles after Wisconsin takes their first lead in the second half during their NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis.
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