For a third year in a row, Pitt loses after getting the double-bye. This time, the Panthers lose to UConn at the buzzer, 76-74.
Kemba Walker finished with 24 points, and had none bigger than a step back jumper at the buzzer, to give his team the win. Walker brought the ball up, following a game-tying three-pointer from Ashton Gibbs, with 38 seconds left. Walker's first attempt bounced off the rim, as Jamal Coombs-McDaniel came down with the rebound, calling timeout in the process with 18 seconds left. Walker took the ball following the timeout, holding for the last shot, which came right at the buzzer.
UConn wins despite a career-high from Gibbs for Pitt, 27 points, which included a 6-for-7 performance from three-point range. Brad Wanamaker added 17 points for the Panthers, followed by Nasir Robinson with 11.
One thing that Pitt has struggled with in recent games is getting off to a slow start. That wasn't the case Thursday afternoon, as Pitt converted eight of its first 10 shots, building an early 18-8 lead. Nasir Robinson and Ashton Gibbs combined for 16 of those first 18 points, which included two three-pointers from Gibbs. Robinson was able to work the inside looks. Pitt led by as many as 12 in the first half.
However, despite finally getting off to a strong start for a change, and shooting 60-percent for the first half, UConn came back in large part to Pitt turnovers. The Huskies scored 12 points off Pitt turnovers, taking a 40-39 lead over the Panthers with six seconds left in the first half. Kemba Walker gave the Huskies its first lead from the free throw line. He converted 1-of-2 shots. Travon Woodall came up with the rebound off the miss, then drove it all the way down for a layup at the buzzer, which at least gave Pitt the lead at halftime. Gibbs led the Panthers with 16 at the break.
Pitt came out in the second half, going up by seven—again, thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Gibbs. UConn battled back thanks to Pitt turnovers—finishing with a total of 20 points off 11 Pitt turnovers.
Pitt held a 21-17 edge on the boards, through the first 32 minutes. Over the final eight minutes, the Huskies outrebounded the Panthers 10-3. A big reason for that was Robinson and Gary McGhee getting in foul trouble. McGhee picked up his fourth with just under 12 minutes left. Pitt still led 58-54 at that point. Robinson picked up his fourth with just over three minutes left, the game tied 69-69.
UConn improves to 24-9 overall, while Pitt drops to 27-5 overall. The Panthers return home, and now await where they will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament.