It was every bit of a defensive effort as we expected, but in the end it came down to a three-pointer, as Virginia knocked off Pitt, 48-45.
Virginia improves to 17-5 on the season, tying a school-best 8-1 start to ACC play. Pitt drops to 18-4, 6-3 in ACC play, now losers of its last two.
"We had good performances by our freshmen," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "Any loss for us is disappointing. Your last game will stick with you. We are not to the level we need to be."
Pitt was outrebounded for a second game in a row, 33-32. Pitt was also outmanned in the paint 26-14. Despite nine points off seven turnovers in the first half, to bring themselves back, Virginia turned the ball over twice in the second half.
Virginia got out to an 6-5 lead off a second-chance basket by Akil Mitchell. After two other Virginia misses, Pitt failed twice in pulling down the defensive rebound. Mitchell was able to get his hands on the ball and put the basket away, giving his team the lead.
A bucket by Mike Tobey, with just over 11 minutes left in the first half, gave Virginia the lead 8-6. Evidence it was a slow pace type of first half. Also reflective of how each rebound, turnover, loose ball was crucial.
Both teams were hovering around the same shooting percentage, but Virginia had an early 12-5 edge in rebounding. More specifically, an early 8-3 edge in offensive rebounds, leading to six early second chance points.
Therefore, Pitt had to rely on some transition to keep it close. Cameron Wright came up with a loose ball, taking it all the way in for the finish. That tied it up at 8-8.
Joe Harris hit a three-pointer to give Virginia an 11-8 lead, a big play if this type of low-scoring, defensive game.
Pitt was keeping it close, but could not finish. They weren't converting good looks that they had, they were getting outrebounded on both ends, they couldn't make anything of anything remotely second-chance. Yet still, with just under eight minutes in the first half, they were only down by three.
The Panthers did find some patience later in the first half. Working the shot clock all the way down, James Robinson dribbled, then fed to a wide-open Mike Young, who tied the game at 12-12 with a three-pointer.
Virginia's defense takes away a lot of good looks at the basket, often forcing teams to run the shot clock down. When teams capitalize, it's devastating to a team's defensive psyche. As a result of this series, it sparked an offensive run for both teams. Both teams went back and forth over the next three minutes.
Virginia regained the lead, 18-17, on a dunk by Brogdon, who was fouled on the play. His free throw made it a 19-17 Virginia lead. Patterson's fadeaway jumper tied it back up at 19-19.
Virginia took a late 21-19 off an alley-oop. Mitchell looked up for Mitchell, who finished off with a dunk.
With under a minute to play, Pitt had a chance to run the clock out, maybe get the last shot. Zanna was stripped of the ball underneath, giving Virginia one last crack at it.
Pitt was able to get it back. Robinson had as big a first half as anyone, stripping Justin Anderson of the ball, as he was bringing it up court. Robinson drove to the basket, then fed Wright easily, who finished off with a basket, giving Pitt a 23-21 lead at halftime.
Pitt closed the gap in rebounding by halftime--a 12-5 edge, down to just 16-14. Both teams had identical shooting percentages (9-24, 37.5%), any Virginia capitalized with six second chance points. Pitt was able to get back in the game thanks to nine points off a total of seven Virginia turnovers.
Pitt got off to a good start in the second half, opening ass big as a four-point lead. Virginia fought back, tying it at 26-26, on a three-pointer from Brogdon.
Young to the lead back for Pitt, on a quick turnaround jumper. It continued to be a close game, yet Pitt continued to battle back from some early slumps, leading 28-26 at the under-16 mark.
The two teams continued at this seesaw pace, before Patterson hit a three-pointer at the 13:12 mark of the second half. It was a 33-30 lead for Pitt, but even a three-point deficit in this type of game forces panic on the other side. Virginia coach Tony Bennett called timeout for his team to regroup.
It worked, as Virginia put together a quick 4-0 run, highlighted by Anderson's drive to the hole. That made it a 34-33 Virginia lead, then forcing Dixon to call timeout.
After Robinson converted 1-2 free throws, both teams again, went back and forth with the two-point lead, four times to be exact. Artis knocked down a pair of free throws, tying it up at 38-38, with 8:40 left.
Joe Harris answered with a big three-pointer, giving Virginia a 'big' 41-38 lead, under eight minutes to play. Artis answered with another jumper, but also drawing a foul in the process. He converted the and-one, quickly tying the game back up at 41-41.
After a pair of free throw misses, Pitt answered with its biggest bucket of the day. Wright, playing from the top of the key, had the ball all the way to the shot clock expiration. With time winding down, Wright banked in a long-range three-pointer. Pitt led 44-41, with just under seven minutes to play.
Pitt had a chance to make it a two-possession game, for just the second time in the half. Zanna was fouled, but went 0-2 from the line. Harris was fouled on the other end for Virginia, converting his attempts, tying the game back up at 44-44.
Artis gave Pitt the lead, converting the front end of a pair of for throws. He then came down with a big rebound on the other end of a Virginia missed free throw, keeping the game tied at 45-45, now under three minutes to play.
It looked like Robinson put the game away with just over a minute to play. After his second chance jumper counted, officials reviewed the play to determine that the shot clock expired before Robinson got his shot off. The score remained tied at 45-45.
That gave Virginia the first crack at taking the lead lead with under a minute to play. Harris' jumper bounced off the rim. Wright hustled over to the loose ball, grabbing the rebound, then feeding the loose ball to Robinson to keep the ball in play.
Pitt called timeout to set up a game-winning shot. Robinson got a good look at the basket, trying a three-pointer. His shot bounced off the rim. Artis was there for the offensive rebound, but couldn't convert.
That gave Virginia the ball back with 9.1 seconds left. Brogdon needed only nine of them, hitting a game-winning three-pointer with 0.1 seconds left, giving Virginia the 48-45 win.< /p>
"It was just one of those grinder games, you could tell after the first five or six minutes, there weren't going to be a lot of easy looks," Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said.
"When your in a one possession game, it's going to come down to one shot, one bounce, one rebound," Dixon added.