Pittsburgh Advances to College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen finals with OT win over Butler 68-62
It is an old saying that “defense wins championships”. Well on a steamy Wednesday night, in an old fieldhouse, in an old rivalry, an old adage proved true as the Pitt Panthers took down March darlings the Bulldogs of Butler 68-62 in overtime.
Two separate times in the first half, Butler held Pitt without a field goal for over four minutes. Pitt returned the favor by holding the Bulldogs without a field goal for a five minute span. However the lack of scoring did not lead to a lack of action. Both teams ran the court well and tried make buckets in transition, and it was Butler who got off to the hot start jumping out to a 18-12 lead. But the insertion of Pittsburgh’s J.J. Moore into the game with about 6:00 left in the half, spurred the Panthers to a 14-6 run to close the half with a 26-24 lead. Moore lead the charge with 10 points off the bench during the run.
Defense continued to be as stifling as the 84 degree heat in Hinkle Fieldouse in the second half. Butler held Pittsburgh leading scorer, senior Ashton Gibbs, without a field goal all game, and kept the Panthers without a field goal for a six minute span. Butler used its tough defense to lead to offensive opportunities in the paint scoring 20 out of its 28 second half points from close range. The other eight points came from the charity stripe. Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Sophomore Andrew Smith, who turned it his second outstanding game of the tournament, scoring 19 of those 11 were in the second half. He also filled up the score sheet with 6 rebounds and a block.
But Pitt continued to hang tough, battling back to tie the game with two minutes left in the game. The Panthers had a chance to take the lead but big rebounds by Khlyle Marshall and Roosevelt Jones lead to a 3 point swing putting Butler up three. The lead was short lived as Lamar Patterson drilled a trey to tie the game at 52 with 36 seconds left. After a timeout J.J. Moore was called for a block as Roosevelt Jones drove to the hoop. Jones missed both free throws and gave Pitt a chance to win the game with 3.6 seconds remaining, but a missed Patterson three point attempt from half court fell short took the game to overtime.
In the extra frame missed free throws were the name of the game for the Bulldogs at one point missing five straight free throws. Conversely Pitt hit seven of eight from the line to take the advantage in OT. For Pitt, junior guard Tray Woodall saved his best for last scoring 10 of his 12 points in overtime, and Lamar Patterson almost registered a triple double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 7 dimes, with 5 points 2 boards ad a block in overtime. For the Bulldogs Khyle Marshall turned in another great performance as he scored 22 to go along with 8 rebounds. Up next for Pitt will be the winner of the Washington State/Oregon State matchup. Butler finishes the season with a 22-15 record. The Finals of the CBI start on Monday night.
Watch the College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen Monday night March 26th on HDNet as Pittsburgh takes on the winner of Oregon State/Washington State in the CBI Finals. Sit courtside with us and follow all the action on our facebook page and by using the #CBI hashtag on twitter
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