Monday night's first game began with a three-pointer from Pitt freshman Malcolm Gilbert, and ended with a dunk from Gilbert, as his PGT team was able to hold off Center Court for a 53-47 win.
Gilbert struggled for much of the game offensively, but created a nice shot to start and finish the game. It was the defensive end, again, where Gilbert made his mark with four blocks. He finished just 2-of-10 from the field, making that first and last shot of the game. Fellow freshman Khem Birch also had four blocks, in a losing effort for Center Court. He had a game-high 16 rebounds on Monday night, the highest output of any player.
The game was highlighted by several Pitt stars—including a pair of recent grads, a few returning veterans and the incoming freshmen. Gary McGhee made his return to the Pro-Am League, while Gilbert Brown played in his second consecutive game. In fact, it was Cameron Wright, Gilbert, McGhee and Brown who started the game for PGT.
PGT held a 26-22 lead at the half, as both teams combined for a sloppy first half. Birch kept his team in it on the defensive side, and despite 18 points from J.J. Moore. Moore didn't have a great shooting night, connecting on just 5-of-19 shots. He was, however, 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Early on, McGhee and Brown were there to help set up the younger Pitt players. When those players couldn't finish plays, the 2011 grads stepped up to finish shots. McGhee finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Brown added 9 points and 13 rebounds.
Wright proved to be a difference-maker in the winning effort for PGT, eventually getting in a rhythm in the second half. He weaved through two defenders on a drive, putting PGT up 30-22 just three minutes into the second half, for the game's biggest lead for either team. He finished with 9 points and 7 boards. Moore later answered with a reverse dunk of his own off of a breakaway. Wright answered two possessions later with a dunk of his own, as PGT's lead went into double-digits.
Center Court was able to cut the lead back to six after Birch came up with his fourth blocked shot of the night. He fed the ball up to Moore, who finished with a three-pointer. Center Court trailed by six at that point, 46-40 with six minutes left, but could not get closer.
PGT makes a move in the standings, improving to 3-2, while Center Court drops to 1-4.
UPMC 73 Steel City Tickets 61
UPMC had an up-and-down game, and even had to hold off a feisty group of West Virginia players on the Steel City team, but they did just that in a 73-61 win.
For tonight's game, UPMC had Talib Zanna, Lamar Patterson and Pitt freshman Durand Johnson, who had his most electric outing of the summer. Zanna finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson added 18 points and 4 rebounds. Patterson—in the first of two games on the night—finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds. All three players shot 50 percent or better from the field.
UPMC jumped out to a 32-28 lead at the half. Johnson scored the final eight points of the half for his team, and even though Steel City came back twice, Johnson showed some game-breaking abilities which propelled his team to the win.
Things continued to look good for UPMC as the second half got underway. Zanna went on a little point-streak of his own, coming through with a dunk to put his team's lead in double-digits, 40-30. He was solid from the free throw line, converting a stretch of four consecutive shots, then finishing another possession off with a dunk. UPMC held a 10-point lead, 52-42, with just under nine minutes left in the game.
That's when Steel City Tickets made their run, as that 10-point lead trickled to a single-point, in a span of two minutes. Johnson drew a foul from three-point range, making a very heady veteran-type play. He converted all three of his foul shots, giving his team a little breathing room, at 59-53. Steel City answered again, this time tying the game at 59-59, with 3:18 left.
It was at the 2:00 mark, where Patterson came up with a big play to swing the momentum back in his team's favor. He drove to the basket, and was fouled on his way up. He converted just 1-of-2 free throws, but gave his team the lead at 60-59. After another defensive rebound from Zanna on the other end, Johnson finished with another drive through the lane, giving his team a 62-59 lead with 1:40 left, as UPMC held on for the win.
UPMC improves to 3-2 on the season, tied for second-place. Steel City Tickets drops to 1-3.
SPK Law 103 The Lair 85
The final game of the night proved to be the highest-scoring game of the entire summer, as SPK cruised to a 103-85 win over The Lair. The Lair was without the services of Pitt's Dante Taylor, while SPK Law had a lethal combination in Lamar Patterson and Ashton Gibbs.
The Lair kept it close for much of the first half, until Patterson hit a barrage of three-pointers on three consecutive possessions. Patterson finished with six three-pointers—an impressive 6-of-9 performance from three-point range—part of his 27 points. Gibbs finished the game with 30 points—the highest output of any player on the night. Despite connecting on just 6-of-19 shots from the field, Gibbs made up for it going a perfect 15-of-15 from the free throw line.
A slim 37-35 lead with 2:52 left in the first half, turned into a 46-39 lead for SPK, in just a minute and a half thanks to Patterson's three-pointers. SPK took a double-digit lead into halftime, its biggest lead of the game to that point, at 49-39.
Patterson added another pair of three-pointers, as SPK held a double-digit lead. The Lair fought back, trimming the deficit to 60-58, less than five minutes into the first half. Youngstown State's Ashen Ward—who is making a good case to earn a spot on the all-league team—answered with a three-pointer, then a layup as his team trailed 60-58. Robert Morris' Coron Williams tied the game for The Lair, following a three-pointer, at 65-65.
Pitt walk-on Nick Rivers then answered with a layup, as SPK held on to the lead. Patterson kept his energy booming—despite playing a second game in a row. His third three-pointer of the second half gave his team a 70-67 lead, and a little more breathing room.
The Lair was able to keep it close for the next eight minutes, thanks to Williams and Ward. SPK was able to build their lead back up to double-digits thanks to another three from Patterson, followed by a dunk on the next possession. Even when he wasn't shooting the three, Patterson hit Gibbs with a kick-back. Gibbs converted that kick back into a three-pointer. Rivers, on his birthday, hit a jumper to put SPK Law up 94-83 with under two minutes left.
SPK evens its record at 3-3, while The Lair now drops to 3-3 on the season.
TEAM, RECORD, PF, PA
PBC, 4-1, 335, 309
UPMC, 3-2, 348, 353
PGT, 3-2, 343, 341
SPK Law, 3-3, 481, 460
The Lair, 3-3, 433, 457
Steel City Tickets, 1-3, 240, 255
Center Court, 1-4, 323, 328