Score: Marquette 74, Pitt 67 OT
Stars:Marquette: Vander Blue 22 Pts, 4 Ast, 9/10 FT Pitt: Lamar Patterson 22 Pts, 4 Reb
Story: Pitt redshirt junior Lamar Patterson hit a 25-footer at the buzzer to send Saturday afternoon’s dramatic Big East matchup against Marquette into overtime, but the Panthers’ inability to convert uncontested shots from 15 feet away ultimately doomed them. Check out the buzzer beater:
Looking to build on Tuesday’s dominant victory at Georgetown, Pitt was fortunate to force an extra five minutes after shooting 11-for-19 from the free-throw line in regulation.
But in overtime, the Panthers (13-4, 1-3 Big East) completely capitulated from the charity stripe, going just 2-for-7, while the Golden Eagles (12-3, 3-0) remained undefeated in conference play by converting 13 of their 16 foul shots in the extra period to secure a 74-67 victory.
While most Pitt fans went home frustrated with their team’s struggles from the free-throw line, Panther head coach Jamie Dixon was more worried about rebounding and other facets of his team’s performance in his post-game press conference.
“Rebounding stands out to me. I know people will point to the free throws,” Dixon said. “I think you can point out a lot of things.”
Marquette out-rebounded Pitt by a 38-33 margin, meaning the Panthers have now been beaten on the glass in all three of their conference defeats.
The Golden Eagles controlled the contest’s early proceedings, partially due to some poor Pitt foul shooting that hinted towards what would ultimately decide the game. The Panthers missed four of their first six free throws as the visitors grabbed an 11-4 advantage.
But in a physical game that saw Pitt senior point guard Tray Woodall leave early with a concussion and Marquette’s Junior Cadougan play limited minutes after suffering an ankle injury, the Panthers wouldn’t go away.
With the help of a raucous, packed Petersen Events Center crowd, Pitt battled back to briefly take the lead late in the first half before the Golden Eagles surged ahead 33-30 at the break.
The entire second half went back-and-forth, with Marquette never leading by more than six but Pitt never being able to tie the game until Patterson found himself wide open on an inbounds play with 1.7 seconds left. Freshman point guard James Robinson, who played most of the game due to Woodall’s injury, found Patterson at the top of the 3-point arc. And when junior small forward’s surprisingly open shot swished through the net, the Pete exploded with incredible noise as Pitt fans released the frustrations of what has been a difficult two years for the basketball team.
But instead of using the momentum to go on and win the game, a lackluster overtime performance condemned the home team to its second consecutive home defeat in the Big East.
Knowing that they should be 2-2 in the Big East if they would’ve converted “free” throws, the Panthers will now head to Villanova on Wednesday night in what really is a must-win game for Pitt if this team wants to get into the NCAA tournament this season.