Pitt had its smallest halftime lead of the season and trailed in the second half for the first time, but the Panthers men’s basketball team came away with an 84-67 win Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
The first half was a streaky one. Pitt started on a 7-3 run led by Cameron Wright’s five points. It seemed that, like in their other games, the Panthers were going to run away with it. They scored 11 straight points to take a 13-3 lead.
Duquesne would not go away, though, going on a 5-0 run of their own and trailing 14-11 going into the first media timeout despite Pitt leading points in the paint 10-0.
The 3-point line was Duquesne’s best friend as it made four to keep the game close. The Dukes fought to tie the game up and took the lead. Ovie Soko made a basket and was fouled to put the Dukes up four.
Duquesne tried to extend the lead throughout the half but could not convert from the free throw line, going 7 for 14. This allowed Pitt to take a 37-32 lead. The Dukes tried to cut into the lead, but trailed 39-35 at halftime.
Both teams were effective from the field, with the Dukes shooting 48 percent and the Panthers 47.2 percent.
Duquesne started out the second half 3 for 3 from three point range to lead 44-41. From that moment, Pitt took over the game. With 14:13 left to play in regulation, Wright was fouled and made a tear drop two.
The three-point play gave the Panthers the advantage, and the lead was nine before the Dukes called a timeout. This was part of the Panthers’ 13-0 run.
Pitt continued to pull away as Patterson converted a three-point play and stretched the Panthers lead. Duquesne once again tried to pull away, but James Robinson converted two 3s and Durand Johnson added a reverse lay-up to give the Panthers a 69-54 lead with 7:10 to play in the second half.
The free throw line continued to be an issue for the Dukes. Duquesne shot 18 for 35 from the free throw line in the game.
Wright led the Panthers with a career high 20 points in the victory, while Soko had 17 points for Duquesne.
Pitt hosts Penn State at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday while Duquesne will host University of Maryland Baltimore County on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Duquesne press conference with Ovie Soko and Jeremiah Jones:
Duquesne coach Jim Ferry:
Pitt players press conference with James Robinson, Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright:
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon: