Gray, Pittsburgh hold off Auburn
Auburn, AL (Sports Network) – Aaron Gray had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead
the second-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers to a 74-66 victory over the Auburn
Tigers at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
Antonio Graves added 14 points while Ronald Ramon contributed 13 for the
Panthers (8-0), who had won their previous seven games by double figures.
“Auburn is a very good team and a team I compare to us,” said Panthers coach
Jamie Dixon. “We battled through the game. It wasn’t our best, but we shot the
ball well. I though we passed the ball well and made good decisions.”
Korvotney Barber had a game-high 19 points while Josh Dollard added 14 points
and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (6-3), who had a two-game winning streak
“It is frustrating that we couldn’t win the game,” said Auburn coach Jeff
Lebo. “We battled hard. We just didn’t shoot the ball very well from the
three, which we needed to do.”
Auburn jumped out to an early 9-2 lead after Barber put in a layup less than
two minutes in.
The Panthers came roaring back though and used a 13-2 run capped off by
Ramon’s trey for a 15-11 lead less than six minutes in.
The lead changed hands several times over the next several minutes, but Pitt
grabbed the lead for good in the first half on a three-pointer by Keith
Benjamin for a 20-19 lead.
The Panthers slowly increased their lead through the remainder of the first
half and had a 44-39 edge heading into the locker room.
Graves and Gray each had 12 points at the half to lead Pitt while Dollard’s 12
points were tops for Auburn.
Consecutive layups to start the second half by Auburn got the team to within
one point, 44-43.
Mike Cook, though, hit on consecutive baskets to re-establish a five-point
edge for the Panthers.
Pitt led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but Auburn did not go
down quietly and mounted a comeback attempt.
With the score 66-53, the Tigers put in 10 straight points and Fran Tolbert’s
layup with under three minutes to play made it a 66-63 game.
In the last minute of play, Quartez Robinson’s free throw got the Tigers to
within four points, 70-66, but Lavance Fields followed with a layup and
Graves’ two free throws sealed the win for the Panthers.
Pitt shot 47.5 percent from the floor, including 8-of-20 from three-point
range…Auburn connected on just 41 percent of its shots and went 3-of-20 on
three-point attempts…Tolbert had nine points and six rebounds…It was
Dollard’s first career double-double.