Pitt only led for 33 seconds of the second half. That was enough though, as one of those seconds occurred when the clock ticked from one to double zeroes.
One game after failing to protect its own home court, the Pitt men’s basketball team stole a game at Florida State. defeating the Seminoles 74-72 in Tallahassee, with a late three by junior forward Jamel Artis proving the difference.
Pitt improved to 16-3 on the season, and 5-2 in the ACC.
The Panthers started fast, getting out to a 5-0 lead thanks to five point by junior forward Jamel Artis.
But that lead would evaporate in Tallahassee, as bad transition defense and a litany of early fouls dug Pitt’s hole deeper
With Sheldon Jeter out with a concussion, Pitt was expecting to rely on big men Rafael Maia, Alonzo Nelson-Ododa and Ryan Luther. But all three of them picked up two quick fouls, and Pitt had to go small, bringin in Cameron Johnson.
Florida State extended their lead to as much as eight, but Sterling Smith was sizzling, scoring 11 points in the first half, including 3 3-pointers.
Still, the Seminoles continued to roll, and a layup by Dwayne Bacon as time expired gave them a 43-33 lead entering intermission.
Pitt opened the second half with four straight points and a 12-5 run overall to cut the lead to 48-45, thanks to two 3 pointers by James Robinson.
But a three by freshman Malik Beasley gave the Seminoles some breathing room, increasing Florida State’s advantage to seven.
Eventually, an eight-point lead for the Seminoles fell to just three thanks to a jumper by Luther and a three-point play by Chris Jones.
With 4:32 remaining, James Robinson tied the game, nailing his third 3-pointer of the game at 63-63, but Florida State answered immediately with a crossover jumper by Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Jamel Artis responded following a Florida State turnover, nailing a shot while the Seminoles fouled him, tying the game again. But Terrence Mann jabbed back for Florida State, converting a second-chance layup to give his team a two point advantage.
After Beasley fouled out by hacking a shooting Young, the Pitt forward converted both free throws, tying the game at 67 with 2:24 remaining in the game.
With 1:34 left, Artis missed a 3-pointer, and Boris Bojanovsky fouled Michael Young, who hauled in the offensive rebound. But Young missed both, throwing away a chance to take the lead.
But with under a minute left, Luther drove to the basket, and hauled in his own missed layup, then dished it to Artis, who converted an open 3-point attempt to give Pitt a 70-67 advantage with 26 seconds left.
On the following possession, Florida State was called for a five-second violation, giving Pitt the ball back. Young converted both free throws after the Seminoles intentionally fouled him, giving the Panthers a five-point lead.
Florida State added suspense, as Rathan-Mayes swished a three with 12 seconds remaining, cutting the Pitt advantage to two.
With 6.4 seconds, Sterling Smith drained two free throws, making the deficit an insurmountable two possessions.
Rathan-Mayes laid in a bucket as time expired, but that was not enough, and the Panthers escaped with the win.
Artis and Smith both led Pitt with 16 points each, while each hauled in five rebounds. Robinson tallied 14 points, 5 assists and two steals, while Young went for 13 points and six boards.
The Panthers were able to win despite Florida State outshooting them 53.7% to 39.3% and outrebounding them 32 to 31.
They did force 16 Seminole turnovers, compared to just 10 themselves.
Pitt finishes up this string of two road games on Wednesday, when they take on Clemson on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.