Pitt suffers setback in overtime loss at Virginia Tech

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Pitt suffers setback in overtime loss at Virginia Tech

By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

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A late 17-7 run by Virginia Tech over the final two minutes of the game gave the Hokies their first conference win over the Pitt men’s basketball team on Tuesday night.

The Panthers (13-8, 3-5 ACC) surrendered game-tying and game-winning 3-pointers at the end of regulation and overtime, respectively, to the Hokies (9-11, 1-6 ACC) by a score of 70-67. 

With 17.5 seconds remaining in the game, and Pitt holding on to a one-point lead, Pitt junior point guard James Robinson hit a jumper from the corner of the foul line to put his team up by three.

Virginia Tech responded after Malik Müller missed a 3-point jumper, but the Hokies got an offensive rebound. Senior forward Christian Beyer quickly kicked it back out to junior guard Adam Smith, who made a contested 3-point shot to tie the game and force an overtime period.

Smith scored 26 points in the game, connecting on 6 out of 11 shots from long range as well.

Virginia Tech took several small leads in the game, but Pitt used a couple of extended runs to shorten the deficit.

The first came right at the beginning of the second half, when junior point guard James Robinson quickly hit a 3-pointer, beginning a 10-0 run for the Panthers.

Senior forward Aron Phillips-Nwankwo suffered an apparent left shoulder injury on a play with 12:49 remaining in the first half, and left the game. He did not return.

Senior guard Cameron Wright also left briefly with a finger injury, but returned with the finger wrapped, finishing the game with 14 points.

Sophomore forward Jamel Artis, who had averaged 18 points per game in the four preceding Tuesday night’s contest, continued his strong shooting early, connecting on a corner 3-pointer and hitting another long jumper. He finished with a team-high 17 points.

Despite holding a 15-10 lead midway through the first half, the Panthers turned the ball over five times in that period.

Eventually, those mistakes caught up to the Panthers, as the Hokiestook a small lead, extending it to 24-29 at halftime.

Virginia Tech shot 44 percent from 3-point range, compared to Pitt’s 36 percent.

Pitt will have to improve its all-around shooting, as the team’s schedule gets more difficult moving forward.

Pitt plays No. 8 Notre Dame next at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is scheduled for noon on Saturday.

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