Virginia tops Pitt 59-56
PITTSBURGH — The finish was not what Virginia was looking for, as the Cavaliers allowed a 14-point lead to whittle down to two thanks to a late-game charge by Pittsburgh.
But they're not going to complain about the victory, as the Cavaliers held on for a 59-56 victory at Pitt for their fourth straight win in Atlantic Coast Conference play. "At the end of the day, a win is a win," said senior guard Braxton Key. "We'll take it, getting out of Pittsburgh with a win."
Trailing by 14 in the second half, Pitt used a 7-0 run to close to with in two points in the final two minutes. But Pitt guard Trey McGowens' 3-point attempt with under 10 seconds to play went off the rim and Ryan Murphy's last-second heave didn't get off before the buzzer. "They attacked, they made some plays and we had too many uncharacteristic turnovers," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "Kihei (Clark) was really good and then just had some errors that I think he's frustrated with."
Clark had six of Virginia's 16 turnovers, but also provided much of the Cavaliers' early cushion. With Pitt leading after the game's first seven minutes, he went on a personal 7-0 run to put Virginia ahead for good. Clark finished 6 of 11 from the floor, made 2 of 3 from 3-point range and also grabbed five rebounds.
He was also a key cog in the Cavaliers' defense that stifled the Panthers. Pitt shot 38.6% overall and was 3 of 15 from 3-point range. After trailing by just two at the half, Pitt missed 12 of its first 13 shots in the second period while Virginia pushed the lead. "They are the best defensive team in the country," Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said. "I think a lot of it had to do with them. They're a hard team to score against."
Mamadi Diakite had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead Virginia (19-7, 11-5). Tomas Woldentensae and Braxton Key also finished with 10 points. Xavier Johnson had 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting for the Panthers (15-13, 6-11). Au'Diese Toney had 13 on 6 of 8, including a 3-point play in the final minute to cut the Virginia lead to two.