Pitt 73, Villanova 64 (OT)

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


PITTSBURGH -- Junior forward Talib Zanna registered a double-double and led No. 23 Pitt to a 73-64 overtime victory over Villanova on Sunday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center.
Zanna finished with 14 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. He scored the first seven points in overtime and then made two free throws with 19 seconds left to seal the outcome.
Pitt (23-7, 11-6) still has a chance to claim one of the top four spots in the Big East standings and a double bye in the conference tournament. Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Panthers are alone in the fourth place, a half-game ahead of Notre Dame and Syracuse. They have one game remaining at DePaul on Saturday.
For Villanova (18-12, 9-8), it was an important game because a loss to Seton Hall last week placed the Wildcats on the NCAA tournament bubble. They have one more game to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee, on Wednesday night at home against first-place Georgetown.
Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono led the Wildcats with 23 points. Sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 points and senior center Mouphtaou Yarou scored 12.
While Zanna supplied the overtime heroics, freshman James Robinson sent the game to overtime with a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining. Robinson also provided some breathing room in overtime. After Villanova cut the lead to two with 58 seconds left, Robinson drilled another 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in overtime for a 66-61 lead.
Robinson, who had not made a 3-pointer in seven games, finished with 14 points.
Pitt played without freshman center Steven Adams, who suffered a left ankle injury in practice on Saturday. Senior Dante Taylor started in his place and Zanna was forced to play backup center when Taylor was rested.
It was 57-57 at the end of regulation. Zanna gave Pitt a 60-57 lead when he converted a 3-point play 57 seconds into overtime, taking a nice dish from Tray Woodall.
After Tony Chennault missed two free throws, Yarou fouled Zanna, who nailed two free throws at the other end for a 62-57 lead. After another Villanova miss, Zanna hit a short jumper for a 64-57 lead.
Villanova led 28-25 at halftime and quickly built upon that lead in the early stages of the second half. A James Bell 3-pointer and a Yarou dunk gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game.
Pitt fought back to tie the score at 43 after a Woodall runner in the lane with 10:03 remaining. Reserve guard Durand Johnson made two-pointers in the 9-3 run that forced Villanova coach Jay Wright to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Wildcats got the ball to Arcidiacono, who drilled a 3-pointer, their first field goal in almost four minutes. Arcidiacono hit a jumper on Villanova's next possession to make it a five-point game.
Pitt came back again and tied it at 57 when Robinson sank a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left. Villanova held for the last shot. Arcidiacono had his shot blocked out of bounds with 3.3 seconds remaining, and the Wildcats turned the ball over on the inbounds play.
Neither team led by more than four points in the first 17 minutes. The lead changed hands five times until Arcidiacono connected on a 3-pointer with 2:17 remaining in the half to give the Wildcats a 26-20 lead, the largest of the game for either team.
Arcidiacono spearheaded a 14-7 run to end the half for the Wildcats. He scored six of his 13 first-half points in the final 4:58. He was 3 of 4 from 3-point range in the half.
Woodall had seven points in the first half for the Panthers, who shot 37 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Villanova shot 38 percent and also received seven points in the half from Pinkston. The Wildcats were 9 of 10 from the free-throw line and the Panthers were 3 of 6.
NOTES: Pitt had won five consecutive games in the series that ended for the foreseeable future because the Panthers are moving to the ACC next season. ... The two teams entered Sunday's game with 32 victories each in the series that dates to 1960. ... Villanova's previous win in the series was a 2009 NCAA tournament victory that sent the Wildcats to the Final Four.