Pitt squeaks past Villanova
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Levance Fields poured in 20 points,
and hit a key three-pointer down the stretch, as seventh-ranked Pittsburgh
held off Villanova, 65-59, in a Big East Battle at the Wachovia Center.
Aaron Gray scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Pittsburgh. Antonio
Graves chipped in with 13 points for the Panthers (20-3, 8-1 Big East) who won
their third straight and 10th in 11 games
Curtis Sumpter led Villanova (14-7, 3-5 Big East) with 21 points and nine
rebounds. Mike Nardi added 10 points for the Wildcats, who lost for the second
Trailing 35-27, Pitt went on a 16-2 run, ending with a Keith Benjamin trey,
to take a 43-37 lead. The Wildcats responded by scoring eight of the next 10
points to tie it 45.
With the score knotted at 47, Pitt used a 7-2 surge to take a 54-49 lead with
just under 4 1/2 minutes to play. Villanova again responded getting to within
one 54-53 on a Nardi jumper as the shot clock expired.
On the ensuing possession Graves drilled a three to put Pitt up 57-53 with
1:47 remaining to play.
Two free throws by Sumpter pulled Villanova within 57-55, but Fields answered
with a triple of his own putting the Panthers up 60-55 with 53 seconds left.
After a Sumpter missed layup, Graves sealed it for Pitt with two free throws.
The visiting Panthers got off to a 17-13 lead, but Villanova went on a 10-0
run, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play by Sumpter, giving the
Wildcats a 23-17 advantage. Villanova took a 28-23 lead into the second half
thanks in large part to Sumpter, who scored 14 points in the stanza.
Villanova shot just 5-19 from three-point range…The Wildcats had won their
previous six games at the Wachovia Center…With the win, Pitt reached the 20-
victory plateau for a school-record sixth consecutive season.