Virginia Tech rallies in 2nd half to top Pitt 66-63
PITTSBURGH (AP) Down big at the half, Virginia Tech dug deep to shoot 50 percent from the floor in the second half to spark a come-from-behind 66-63 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
Seth Allen made a 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining to give the Hokies the lead for good and Pitt missed three 3-point attempts on the final possession.
The Hokies are becoming close-game specialists, having played five conferences games decided by two possessions or less.
”It’s weird. There’s not really a panic. We’re calm. We just wait for a guy like Seth to hit a big shot,” Virginia Tech guard Justin Bibbs said. ”We just know how to fight every time we get in a bad situation.”
Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-6) trailed the entire first half but caught up quickly with a seven-point possession early in the second half. Ahmed Hill made a layup for two of his team-high 17 points. Pitt’s Michael Young was given an intentional foul on the play and Hill made both free throws. Bibbs then hit a 3-pointer to give the Hokies their first lead of the game.
”(That play) changed the tenor of the game, for sure,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said.
Pitt (14-12, 3-10) got out to a big lead early thanks to shooting 69.2 percent from 3-point range in the first half. Cameron Johnson was 4 of 5 from beyond the arc before the break as the Panthers built an 11-point lead.
Johnson finished with 17 also had 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. Virginia Tech played its first game without top rebounder Chris Clarke, who will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury.
Virginia Tech had a quick turnaround from its double-overtime win against rival Virginia on Sunday and the Hokies didn’t get off to a good start, making 1 of 6 while Pitt started the game on a 12-3 run.
”I think it just speaks to their parents and how their parents raised them,” Williams said. ”We had less than a 48-hour turnaround, on the road, quickest turnaround that we’ve had all year.”
After losing eight straight games, the Panthers had won two in a row to keep their small postseason hopes alive, but they failed to break out of a pack of three teams with three ACC wins.
”We aren’t going to change our outlook,” Johnson said. ”We have to beat teams that people don’t think we’re supposed to beat.”
Virginia Tech will travel to No. 8 Louisville on Saturday. The Hokies are 0-2 against the Cardinals since they joined the ACC in 2014.
Pitt will stay at home for a visit from No. 17 Florida State on Saturday. The Panthers are 11-3 all-time against the Seminoles.