Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Needs 2 Overtimes to Finish Wake Forest Panthers Manage to Dodge Bad Loss Thanks in Part to Jones, Robinson Pitt 101, Wake Forest 96

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Needs 2 Overtimes to Finish Wake Forest Panthers Manage to Dodge Bad Loss Thanks in Part to Jones, Robinson Pitt 101, Wake Forest 96

Article excerpt

Pitt's NCAA tournament hopes were in danger of getting dashed Tuesday night when the Panthers played host to one of the worst teams in the ACC.

But the Panthers found a way to survive in regulation, then again in overtime, and finally beat back pesky Wake Forest in double overtime to escape with a 101-96 win before a crowd of 8,825 at Petersen Events Center.

"A great win for us," coach Jamie Dixon said. "We didn't play great, we worked hard, we didn't make shots, we battled and we competed. It was good to win a close game, we haven't had a lot of close games. ...

"It was good for us to make so many plays down the stretch and so many guys made big plays down the stretch, too. All of them did a great job. Sure, we have to get better on the defensive end, but I promise that will happen [today]."

The Panthers looked sloppy, sluggish and defensively challenged for most of the game and frankly might have gotten blown out had it not been for their ability to grab offensive rebounds and the Demon Deacons' inability to shoot free throws.

Pitt dominated the Demon Deacons on the glass as the Panthers enjoyed a 58-35 edge in rebounds. More impressive, they held a 26-9 advantage on the offensive boards.

That translated into a 25-7 edge for the Panthers in second- chance points and that proved to be a key for their survival.

Also, the Demon Deacons didn't help their cause much as they made only 16 of 32 free-throw attempts.

The win was much needed for the Panthers (18-7, 7-6) as they snapped a three-game losing streak and avoided an awful loss at home at a time they can't really afford many more losses.

"We are competing, we are playing hard, I wish more of our shots would fall but right now that's where we are," Dixon said. "I believe we are going to get better defensively. We've done it over the years. It has to come for us.

"But we are getting offensive rebounds and that speaks to how hard we are playing. We know we are not a perfect team right now. We are not giving up, it is just more reflective of how tough our league is, and that's the challenges we have."

Meanwhile, on the other bench, the misery continued for coach Danny Manning and the Demon Deacons (10-16, 1-13). …

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