Pitt held on for an impressive 57-54 win on the road at Villanova on Saturday.
The Panthers battled through another tough first half to rebound and take control in the second. Up by ten with only a few minutes left in the game, Pitt had to hold off a late Villanova rally for the win.
Pitt fans like myself would have been happy with a split in road games against West Virginia and Villanova. Instead, Pitt knocked off two quality teams on the road without Ashton Gibbs and gave fans another reason to think the team can make a deep tournament run.
Brad Wanamaker and Nasir Robinson were the heroes playing in their hometown of Philadelphia. They combined for 36 points (11-21 shooting, 14-20 from the free throw line), had 11 rebounds, and four steals. Brad Wanamaker, in particular, really wanted the game and it was nice to see him deliver.
That, of course, almost didn’t happen as he turned the ball over late with Pitt up by three. Unfortunately for Nova, it didn’t matter as a last-second three-pointer came just after the buzzer.
Pitt may have won these past two games without Gibbs, but it’s certainly taking a toll on the team. They again got next to nothing out of their bench (an astonishing total of three points and one rebound). The Panthers really could have used more from guys like Dante Taylor and Lamar Patterson. Both have shown at various points in the season that they’re capable of contributing and need to step up. If they’re disappearing now, how will they do in the NCAAs if called upon?
And for the first time this season, Pitt was really bullied on the boards. It seemed as though Mouphtaou Yarou pushed off nearly every single time he was around a Pitt player, but that’s still no excuse for losing the rebounding battle 33-21. When you consider that, this game really showcased how great Pitt is this season.
Pitt now gets a few days off before a game Wednesday at home against South Florida.