COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Two teams heading in opposite directions, in more ways than one, tangled in Comcast Center, and 20th ranked Pittsburgh came away with an 83-79 victory over Maryland in the second and probably last meeting of the two teams as ACC rivals.
Guard Lamar Patterson scored 28 points for the Panthers (18-2, 6-1 in the ACC), who rolled to their eighth victory in the last nine games.
“(Patterson) took what was there and I think we rode him a little too much in the second half,” said Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon. “We’ve got a lot of different options but he’s a good guy to go to too much, I guess. The big thing was we didn’t settle for jump shots. Our offense was really good in that regard.”
Maryland (11-9, 3-4) fell for the fourth time in the last five games. The Terrapins will be leaving the ACC after this season and are in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight year.
Guard Dez Wells led the Terrapins with 19 points, but Maryland was no match for a huge edge by the Panthers at the free throw line, where they connected on 32-of-47 attempts (68.1 percent).
“We gave up too many layups and we fouled too much,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. “I know we fouled a lot, especially late, but 47 is a lot of free throws. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been a coach and assistant coach about 26 years and I’m telling you that is one of the best teams I’ve ever seen. I think they’re a top-5 team in the country, come in this building and really kind of control the game.”
Pittsburgh missed nine of the last 14 attempts to keep the door ajar for the Terrapins, who scrapped back after trailing by 13 points midway through the second half.
The Terrapins got the deficit down to five on two occasions in the final 1:19 but couldn’t get closer until 5.4 seconds remained, when forward Evan Smotrycz hit a baseline 3-pointer for the final points.
“Lamar (Patterson) was scoring within the offense,” said Pitt guard Cameron Wright. “It’s not like he was trying to do too much. He’s playing out of his mind right now. He was able to hold us together and get us back in the game.”
Talib Zanna had 16 points and seven boards to share high rebound honors with Patterson.
The Panthers, in their first season in the ACC, had a 37-28 rebounding advantage and appear ready for a big conference test Monday at home against Duke.
Maryland, which got 18 points from forward Jake Layman, hosts Miami on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh used a 9-0 run late in the first half to build a 42-37 halftime edge.
Patterson led the way with 13 points in the half. He was 7 of 8 at the free throw line, where the Panthers made 16 of 17.
The Terrapins hit five of their first seven shots and enjoyed a 9-2 lead in the opening two-and-a-half minutes.
But the Panthers clawed back.
When forward Michael Young spun inside for a reverse layup at 5:05 to put Pittsburgh ahead 29-28, the Panthers would not trail again, beginning that 9-0 run.
Guard James Robinson scored in transition and Patterson got a fast break score after a steal. When guard Cameron Wright got an old-fashioned three-point play, Pitt led 36-28 at 3:47.
Swingman .Wells led Maryland with eight first-half points, but the Terps never got closer than three points the rest of the half.
“We didn’t do a good job talking (defensively),” said Wells. “Our ball-screen defense wasn’t as good as it should have been (against Patterson) and we didn’t do a good job in certain situations.”
NOTES: This was the first meeting in College Park between these two teams since 1980, but it also might have been the last for Maryland and Pittsburgh as ACC rivals. … Maryland won that meeting in 1980, 95-88, and the Terrapins’ coach that night, Lefty Driesell, was courtside for this game. … The struggling Terrapins might be running out of chances to make a case for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. This was one of only six games left against top-50 RPI teams.
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