Furious comeback earns Pitt overtime win at Boston College

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Furious comeback earns Pitt overtime win at Boston College

By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

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The Pitt men’s basketball team played Hyde to the football team’s Jekyll Tuesday night as it rallied back to defeat Boston College in overtime.

Pitt came back from a late nine-point deficit to send the game into extra time. With time dwindling, a blocked shot secured a 61-60 Panthers win to even its ACC record at 1-1. The result may have surprised pessimistic Pitt fans, who only last week witnessed their football team surrender a 25-point fourth-quarter lead to Houston, eventually losing its bowl game.

The game-saving layup also helped Pitt save face. Between 1999 and 2011, Pitt had lost its first two conference games only once. Without sophomore guard Josh Newkirk’s comeback shot, the team would have done that for the third time since 2011 on Tuesday night.

After trading a couple baskets and missing shots, Pitt had the ball — down one point — with just more than 10 secondsremainingin the game. Newkirk blew past his defender and drove to the basket for an easy layup to put the Panthers up one with 5.9 seconds remaining in overtime.

Pitt blocked a BC shot attempt, leaving the Eagles with 0.3 seconds left to score a basket — which it failed to convert — ending the game.

The game started out close, with Boston College leading Pitt 13-10 eight minutes into the game. From there, the Eagles stalled. Ranked 195th in the country in points per game, the team averaged 67.3 entering Tuesday night’s contest.

Both teams missed the basket more times than not Tuesday night. Pitt only shot 38 percent in the game, and Boston College shot a hardly-better 40 percent. Yet, BC made a run for the win and pulled away with a straightaway 3-point basket with four minutes remaining. The basket extended its lead to nine points.

Pitt struggled to find open shots for itself, and, when it pressed BC late in the game, the home team broke the pressure easily, earning easy layups. The game seemed out of reach at that point, but the full-court pressure eventually began to pay off.

Pitt’s press eventually forced two Boston College turnovers, and the Panthers converted them into baskets to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Sophomore transfer forward Sheldon Jeter was in the middle of those turnovers. He dove for an offensive rebound, got fouled and earned free throws late in regulation.

Jeter finished with a season-high 11 points off the bench, and Newkirk and Michael Young co-led the Panthers with 15 points. Star guard Olivier Hanlan paced the Eagles with 18 points.

Pitt plays again on Saturday against Clemson, its first home game of the year. Boston College, now having lost two straight conference games to Duke and Pitt, travels to Miami for a conference matchup.

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