Pitt Collapses Down The Stretch Against Wake Forest; Tourney Hopes On Life Support


In a game in which Pitt desperately needed a win to keep up with the rest of the NCAA Bubble teams, the Panthers failed to make a basket in the final six minutes of the game at Wake Forest.

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Sophomore forward Jamel Artis made a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining, but it was already too late, as Pitt blew a 9-point lead and fell on the road 69-66.

This was not a memorable first ever game at Wake Forest for Pitt.

Was this a dagger towards Pitt’s NCAA Tournament chances?

It very well could be.

Already listed as “First Four Out,” a loss to a team with an RPI of 121 will give Pitt a third “bad loss,” with the likes of Hawaii and Virginia Tech.

This also knocks Pitt to 8-8 in ACC play, with a 19-11 overall record, which likely isn’t good enough.

I wouldn’t count Pitt as officially out, but they are definitely on life support.

As Lloyd would say in Dumb and Dumber, “so you are saying there’s a chance?”

Pitt must beat Miami, another Bubble team, at home on Wednesday, and they also must go on the road and beat Florida State.  This would improve Pitt to 21-11 (10-8 ACC).  The Panthers would then need to win at least one, but probably two ACC tourney games.  This would likely mean knocking off Duke or Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.

This loss tonight really stung for Pitt fans.  I know that I will lose sleep over this.

For Pitt (19-11, 8-8 ACC), sophomore forward Michael Young scored 22 points and 8 rebounds, while Artis scored 19 points and 9 rebounds.

For Wake Forest (13-16, 5-11 ACC), freshman guard Mitchell Wilbekin scored 14 points on 4 of 4 three-pointers all in the first half, while junior guard Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 13 points.

Pitt out-rebounded Wake Forest 43 to 28 and had 17 offensive rebounds.  Pitt shot 41% to Wake’s 47%.  The Demon Deacons were 16 of 28 from the free throw line and Pitt was 12 of 17.

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  • Pitt fell into an early 13-5 deficit from a Wilbekin three-pointer but only trailed 37-35 at the half, as Young knocked down a late three-pointer.  Recall that Wake Forest, who had 7 three-pointers in the first half, only scored 34 points against Virginia last game.

    In the second half, Pitt came out more focused, playing as if their season was on the line.  An Artis jumper made it 52-43 Pitt with 13 minutes remaining.  Pitt opened the half on a 17-6 run.

    An Artis jumper made it 59-53 with six minutes remaining, and Young added a free throw for a seven point lead.

    Pitt wouldn’t score another basket until 2.9 seconds remaining.

    Senior leader Cameron Wright missed an important one-and-one free throw, and then committed a foul on Miller-McIntyre who made a lay-up.  A Sheldon Jeter turnover led to a Miller-McIntyre lay-up to tie it at 61.

    Jeter missed a jumper and Konstantinos Mitoglou drained a three-pointer to give the Demon Deacons a 64-61 lead with 2:44 on the clock.

    My blood pressure began to rise.

    James Robinson made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 1 and Wright missed an open jump shot.  Artis then committed a turnover, and Robinson lost the ball off his leg with 28 seconds left down 66-63.

    Newkirk committed another turnover, as Pitt was unable to even take some shots to even the score.

    Cornelius Hudson made both free throws to give Wake a 69-63 lead, and Artis finally got a shot with 2.9 seconds left, and he made the three-pointer.

    This was about as frustrating a game as you will see, as Pitt simply imploded in the final six minutes with so much on the line.


    This one may hurt for a while, but Pitt must beat Miami on Wednesday at the Pete in essentially an NCAA Tournament elimination game.

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