Pitt rallies past Villanova for OT winBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, Mar 3, 2013 4:10 PM EST
PITTSBURGH -- A freshman and a junior led Pitt to a victory on Senior Day. Rookie point guard James Robinson provided the heroics late in regulation and power forward Talib Zanna carried Pitt in overtime as the No. 23 Panthers came back from an nine-point second-half deficit to beat Villanova 73-64 on Sunday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center. Zanna, a 6-foot-9 native of Nigeria, had 14 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. He scored nine points in overtime, including the first seven to give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish. Robinson, a 6-3 point guard, also scored 14 points and hit two critical 3-pointers to help the Panthers complete the comeback. Robinson, who hadn't made a 3-pointer in the previous seven games, buried one from the corner with 33 seconds remaining to tie the score at 57. He made another 3-pointer in overtime with 28 seconds left after Villanova had cut the lead to two. It was an important victory for Pitt (23-7, 11-6), which still has a chance to claim one of the top four spots in the Big East standings and secure a double bye at 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. It was a devastating loss for Villanova (18-12, 9-8). The Wildcats started the week with a loss at Seton Hall that put them on the NCAA tournament bubble. They have one game left to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee, Wednesday night at home against first-place Georgetown. Zanna and Robinson had been struggling on offense. Zanna had reached double figures once in the previous 13 games and hadn't scored as many as 14 points since he had 15 in victory at Georgetown in early January. "I knew I had it in me," Zanna said. "I was just waiting for my time. I'm just going to try to pick it up from here." Robinson hadn't reached double figures in the previous 10 games. A 29 percent 3-point shooter, Robinson was left wide open on both of his 3-pointers. "With the game clock running down, I pretty much had to take the shot," Robinson said of his tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation. "They've trusted me all year. For them to be able to trust me enough, I just knocked it down. I wanted them to win on Senior Night." Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono led Villanova with 23 points but couldn't come up with a play on Villanova's final possession. As he drove to the hoop, his shot blocked out of bounds by Dante Taylor with 3.3 seconds left. On the inbounds play, Arcidiacono turned the ball over when he threw an errant pass in the lane. "We had the last possession of the game and didn't get a shot off," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We didn't deserve to win." Senior guard Tray Woodall posted his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 assists. Taylor, a senior who started at center in place of injured freshman Steven Adams, had seven points and six rebounds. The two seniors teamed up for Pitt's final points in the game, a nifty dish to Taylor, who threw down an authoritative dunk. "I'll remember our seniors and the steps they've taken," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "They've brought this team along. They've made a commitment. Our defense has improved because of them. To have them play so well was great. To have Tray hit Dante for a dunk at the end it couldn't have happened any better." NOTES: Adams injured his left ankle in practice Saturday morning. Dixon said he expected him to be ready for Pitt's next game at DePaul on Saturday. ... Pitt won six 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.
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