Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panthers Tumble in Ot on Road Hokies' Smith Hits Long 3 for Winner Virginia Tech 70, Pitt 67

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panthers Tumble in Ot on Road Hokies' Smith Hits Long 3 for Winner Virginia Tech 70, Pitt 67

Article excerpt

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Pitt's perimeter defense has been an issue all season long, but, for the most part, the Panthers have been able to overcome it against the weaker teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

That deficiency finally bit the Panthers Tuesday night as they couldn't stop Virginia Tech's 3-point barrage and lost, 70-67, in overtime at Cassell Coliseum.

The Hokies made 12 of 27 from beyond the 3-point line, most coming from guard Malik Muller and guard Adam Smith, who combined for 48 points and made 10 of the 20 3-pointers they attempted.

"That was a tough loss for us," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "At the end of the day, the 12 3-pointers just wore on us. I thought we defended well in most situations. I am proud of our effort, we fought through some things and had some guys make some big plays, but there is a big disappointment with this loss."

The conference win was the first for Virginia Tech (9-11, 1-6 ACC) and the third consecutive loss for the Panthers (13-8, 3-5), who also saw their streak of seven consecutive wins in overtime come to a halt.

Jamel Artis, who led the Panthers with 17 points, seemed to put the punctuation mark on what would have been a nice conference road win when he drove baseline and threw down an emphatic one-handed jam that gave the Panthers a 58-51 lead with 3:20 to play.

The Hokies were not going to go down easy and found a way to get some stops. They made a 7-1 run and pulled to within 60-59 on a 3- pointer from Smith with 51 seconds left.

The Panthers ran the shot clock down on the other end, and James Robinson hit a 15-footer with 17.5 seconds remaining in regulation. At that point, Pitt led, 62-59, and it looked like the Panthers might escape with a win.

Muller missed a 3-pointer with four seconds to play, but Virginia Tech center Christian Beyer grabbed the rebound and passed it out to Smith, who buried a long 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds to play and send it to overtime.

"That was a tough shot, give [Smith] credit, he hit a tough shot," said Pitt guard Cameron Wright. "We made some mistakes on defense and gave up some open looks, but you have to give them credit too because a couple of the shots they hit were tough shots and were contested. …

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