Gallant Knights Defeated By No. 2 Pitt, 65-62

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Dane Miller's last-second 3-point attempt missed the mark and allowed No. 2 Pittsburgh to defeat Rutgers 65-62 Saturday in front of 8,024 at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The Scarlet Knights played an inspired game, and were backed by a boisterous crowd, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Panthers.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Dane Miller wasn't the original choice, but he had the ball with eight seconds left and Rutgers down three points, so he hoisted an ill-advised and off-balance shot.

Never in the position before, the lack of composure at the most crucial time showed, although it was remarkable the Scarlet Knights were in such a position in the first place.

Behind an intense overall effort and backed by a raucous crowd, Rutgers was on the precipice of a signature win in coach Mike Rice's first season, but it fell short when Miller's desperation shot missed badly.

Instead, No. 2 Pittsburgh escaped a rockin' Rutgers Athletic Center with a 65-62 victory in front of 8,024 Saturday night, and did so behind a sublime performance by guard Ashton Gibbs.

"I wanted (Beatty) to come around and shoot a three," Rice said of the last shot. "Penetrate and shot fake, but he kind of stood in the corner. I didn't want Dane shooting a three."

Gibbs scored 24 points, including a game-changing 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down with 55 seconds to play to give the Panthers a four-point lead.

"It hurts," Rutgers senior forward Jonathan Mitchell said. "This just goes to show you that we can play with anyone in the country when we come out and have the right attitude and the right mindset. This one hurts because we let this one slip away."

More devastating for Rutgers was it came after a Pittsburgh offensive rebound, the final of 11 on the night.

"It was a great atmosphere, a great place to play," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "Rutgers is always a great place to play. The student section did a great job, and I give them a hand for the energy and the atmosphere that they brought to place. "

Pittsburgh (20-2, 8-1 Big East) was aided by shooting 28 of 35 from the foul line.

Jonathan Mitchell (seven rebounds), Mike Coburn and Robert Lumpkins all led Rutgers (12-9, 3-6) with 12 points apiece in a tightly contested game in which the Panthers' biggest lead was six points.

"We showed a lot of toughness, a lot of fight," Rice said. "Pitt keeps swinging, and they don't stop. They're as tough as they come as far as physicality and seeking out contact. What can I say, 28-for-35 from the free throw line is tough to beat."

Pittsburgh threatened to take control when Nasir Robinson's layup made it 50-44 with 7:04 to play, but the Scarlet Knights continued to hang around. Twice the Scarlet Knights pulled within a point in the final 1:27, but couldn't get past the Panthers.

Included in the frustration was Miller's hurried 3-pointer.

"Coach Rice, I heard him say, ‘Shoot the ball,' " Miller said. "I shot it. …I knew it was off because of the way I shot it. I was going to step and bring it back out and try to break him off the dribble, then try to get a clear shot, but it was one of those things."

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