NCAA News Wire

Pitt escapes Hokies, No. 1 Syracuse next

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PITTSBURGH — Cameron Wright feigned ignorance when asked if his No. 25 Pittsburgh Panthers might have been looking ahead.

“I’m not very good with the schedule,” the junior guard said. “Who do we play next?”

That would be No. 1 Syracuse, which visits the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night.

It certainly seemed that Pitt had its mind on things other than Virginia Tech for much of the game Saturday before escaping with a 62-57 victory in double overtime over the ACC cellar-dwelling Hokies.

“The expectations are so high because of the success our program has had,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “You’re not going to play great every time.

“What I like is that we played well at the end and found a way to win the game. I feel good about that. You’re not always going to win every game by as many points as people think you should.”

Wright scored a game-high 18 points, including four decisive free throws in the second overtime as Pitt (20-4, 8-3 in the ACC) barely avoided its third consecutive home defeat.

The Panthers have lost only 24 games in their 12 seasons at the Petersen Events Center.

Virginia Tech (8-15, 1-10) lost its 10th straight game. It is the Hokies’ longest losing streak since they lost 10 in a row during the 2001-02 season.

“There is no solace in losing in double overtime,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “That being said, our kids played hard, competed hard and didn’t quit.

“We’ve got to find a way, though, to win games like this. We’re still learning how to win.”

Wright made two free throws with 3:36 left in the second overtime to put Pitt ahead for good, 56-54, then gave the Panthers a four-point lead when he drained two more from the foul line 37 seconds later.

Virginia Tech got to within 59-57 on freshman guard Devin Wilson’s free throw with 30 seconds left. However, Pitt scored the final three points of the game on free throws, one by senior forward Lamar Patterson and two by freshman guard Josh Newkirk.

The teams combined to score only one field goal in the two five-minute overtime periods, a jumper by Patterson with 4:19 left in the second overtime.

Patterson was held to five points, 12 below his team-leading average and did not score in regulation. He was 1-for-9 from the field, though he did have six assists while playing despite a jammed right thumb that caused him to miss practice on Thursday and Friday.

“There was some pain but I was able to deal with it,” Patterson said. “It was just one of those days where my shots didn’t fall. Other guys’ shots did fall, though. We’re a team. We have a lot of guys who are capable of scoring.”

Pitt sophomore guard James Robinson had 16 points and Newkirk finished with 11 points.

Virginia Tech was led by senior forward Jarell Eddie’s 15 points, all on 3-point field goals. Eddie, who averages a team-high 13.9 points per game, scored a combined nine points in the previous two games.

Wilson and sophomore forward Joey van Zegeren each added 10 points for the Hokies.

A four-point play by Robinson with 33 seconds remaining in regulation tied the score, 48-48, and forced overtime. Robinson hit a 3-pointer from the left corner and was fouled by Eddie.

“A lot of things happened on that play and none of it was good for us,” Williams said.

Wilson made two free throws with 43 seconds left in the first overtime tie the score, 52-52, and force a second extra period.

Pitt jumped to a 13-5 lead with 15:21 left in the first half on a jumper by freshman forward Michael Young. Virginia Tech chipped away at the lead and went ahead, 19-18, on a 3-pointer by Eddie with 5:38 remaining before Pitt bounced back to take a 27-26 halftime lead.

Virginia Tech went up, 34-29, on a tip-in by senior forward Cadarian Raines with 16:27 left in regulation. However, the Hokies failed to score a basket over the final 13:03.

NOTES: F Lamar Patterson raised his career point total to 1,204 and moved into fifth