No. 25 Pittsburgh holds off UM men in overtime
02/06/2014 12:01 AM
02/06/2014 3:30 AM
The last time Pittsburgh played in Miami, both teams were still in the Big East, and the Panthers beat the Hurricanes in double overtime.
On Wednesday night, the teams renewed their rivalry — this time as Atlantic Coast Conference opponents — and the game was another thriller, with No. 25 Pittsburgh prevailing 59-55 in overtime at BankUnited Center.
It was a battle between two of the better seniors in the ACC — Pitt forward Lamar Patterson, who had a game-high 25 points, and Miami guard Rion Brown, who led the Canes with 21 points.
But Miami (11-11, 2-7), which has lost four ACC games in a row, was victimized by its poor foul shooting, missing 5 of 6 in the final two minutes of regulation.
Miami is 0-5 this season in ACC home games.
“I didn’t want to drop another one at home,” said Brown, who was sick and did not start a game for the first time all season but still managed to play a team-high 41 minutes. “We wanted to win this one real bad.
“In regulation, if me, Garrius [Adams] and Manu [Lecomte] hit some free throws, the game is over. So that’s on us.”
Pitt (19-4, 7-3) snapped a two-game losing streak and tied Duke for third place in the ACC.
On Miami’s final possession of overtime, Brown lost the handle, and Patterson got the steal.
UM led by as many as six points in the first half. But Patterson, who had been held to just three points for the first 19 minutes, got loose in the final 68 seconds.
First, he was left alone on an in-bounds play, and he drained a corner three-pointer. Then, he made a buzzer-beater from the top of the key to put Pitt up at the half 29-28.
The final minute of regulation was thrilling. With Miami trailing 44-42, Brown hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 25 seconds left.
Patterson put Pitt back on top with a drive to the hoop with 13 seconds left.
Lecomte got fouled on a drive with seven seconds left. Lecomte missed the first free throw but made the second to force overtime.
Patterson, who had 10 of Pitt’s 13 points in overtime, was the clear hero. He has scored in double figures in an ACC-best 21 consecutive games and entered Wednesday ranked fourth in the league in scoring and fifth in assists.
“I didn’t want to become a ghost in overtime,” he said. “My team looks to me. I wanted to come through for them.”
UM coach Jim Larrañaga said his team “did a lot of good things” — everything except getting the win.
Larrañaga praised Patterson’s ability to get to the rim, although he labeled the first Patterson three-pointer toward the end of the first half a defensive breakdown.
“The guy you have to find is the guy we talked about not letting him catch the ball,” Larrañaga said.
Miami outrebounded Pitt 43-37 and held the Panthers to 33 percent shooting. Miami made 35 percent of its shots and was minus-five in the turnover battle.
The Canes got a lift from reserve forward Erik Swoope, who went 3 for 3 — all on dunks — and scored six points.
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