Georgetown 67, No. 16 Pittsburgh 64
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Jamie Dixon learned what longtime Pitt coach Paul Evans often discovered during the 1980s and 1990s: Sometimes having better talent isn’t enough against a John Thompson-coached Georgetown team.
Brandon Bowman drove the lane for the go-ahead basket with 8.4 seconds remaining and No. 16 Pittsburgh then failed twice to get off a shot, falling 67-64 to the Hoyas on Wednesday night in the Panthers’ second upset loss in as many games.
Pitt followed up a stunning 69-66 loss Sunday to Bucknell with one nearly as surprising—only its third in 46 home games since the Petersen Events Center opened for the 2002-03 season.
Georgetown (9-3) had lost eight consecutive Big East games dating to last season, only to win its conference debut under new coach John Thompson III— the son of the Hoyas coach who was 24-10 against Pitt from 1982-99.
The Hoyas hit 9 of 12 3-point attempts during the first half, when they once led 28-9, then ran their Princeton-style offense featuring numerous back-door cuts and quick passes to perfection in the second half.
“Obviously, I’m happy,” Thompson said. “The ball bounced our way the last two minutes. It was a big win against a terrific team.”
And a struggling Pitt team, too.
The Panthers (10-2), who have shared or won the last three Big East regular-season titles, lost two in a row for the first time since Notre Dame and Miami beat them during a four-day span in January 2002. They hadn’t lost consecutive home games since Feb. 2001 losses to Notre Dame and Georgetown.
“This really hurts, to lose two straight games at home,” said Chris Taft, who led Pitt with 20 points. “We’ve got to find a way to get through.”
Ashanti Cook hit four of Georgetown’s 11 3-pointers and scored 23 points, including a free throw with 5.2 seconds left after Pitt’s Chevon Troutman threw the ball away on a long pass.
“He kept us in it on some possessions where we could have crumbled,” Thompson said. “He hit some shots to stop runs and keep us in the game.”
Pitt got the ball back with a chance to tie it after Cook missed his second free throw, but Antonio Graves was tied up near midcourt and the Panthers never got a shot off.
Bowman scored 18 and reserve Darrel Owens had 11 for the Hoyas, who were 16-point underdogs despite winning their previous four.
Pitt’s Carl Krauser had 12 of his 15 points during a furious first-half flurry, but the Panthers couldn’t hold on after turning the 19-point deficit into a 59-53 lead with five minutes remaining.
Georgetown, starting three freshmen, hit its first six 3-point attempts against Pitt’s rarely used 2-3 zone defense to seize the 28-9 lead. Dixon opened with the zone—a defense he estimates the Panthers used only 10 minutes all last season—because of their uncharacteristically soft defense of late.
“They hit some deep 3s—they came out on fire,” Dixon said. “Say what you want about the second half, but you can’t put yourself in a 19-point hole. We rushed some things, forced some things and were overly aggressive at times.”
Pitt’s last three opponents have shot 50 percent or better, something only one of Pitt’s 36 opponents did last season. Georgetown made 25 of 50 shots, including 11-of-21—52.4 percent—from 3-point range.
In a game marked by shifting momentum and long scoring runs keyed by 3-pointers, Pitt then scored the first eight points of the second half to take its first lead, at 42-39, since it led 6-5.
Georgetown, ending a five-game losing streak against Pitt, responded with a 9-0 run keyed by Cook’s five points to retake the lead at 53-49. But the Hoyas didn’t score for nearly four minutes as Graves and Krauser each hit 3-pointers as Pitt scored 10 in a row to make it 59-53.
Troutman, who came in averaging 13.6 points, was held to five. He has scored in single digits in each of Pitt’s seven defeats over the last two seasons.