For the second straight game, a Virginia basketball opponent found a way to melt the Pack-Line defense: red hot shooting.
Just four days after Florida State shot 53.3% from 3-point range in a 60-58 win, Pittsburgh copied the blueprint with 61.9% shooting from downtown in an 88-76 overtime victory. The two teams combined to make 21 of 36 3-pointers, a sizzling 58.3% mark. The Hoos’ previous 12 opponents had combined to shoot just 28.9% from behind the line.
As a result, UVA stands at 1-2 in ACC play after back-to-back losses.
”There wasn’t enough real tough stingy defense to come away with a road win in a place like this,” Cavalier coach Tony Bennett said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. ”Every time we’d get it close or take a little lead, there was either a breakdown or they’d hit a tough shot. Don’t get me wrong, they hit some tough ones. But it’s a very balanced, very tough league.”
Pittsburgh’s Jamel Artis led the outside onslaught in the Oakland Zoo. He canned 6 of 7 3-pointers as part of a 24-point night. Cameron Johnson knocked down 4 of 5 3’s for 16 points, while Sheldon Jeter added 3 of 5 from long range for 16 points too. Jeter’s damage may have been the most crucial in the end because he made a pair of his 3-pointers in the overtime period. The first opened the scoring just 14 seconds in, while the second pushed the lead to 76-70 with 3:25 to go. Overall, the Panthers made 13 of 21 shots from outside the arc.
That early breathing room allowed Pitt to gain separation and it pushed the final margin to double digits eventually at the free throw line. The Panthers made 17 of 28 free throws in the game, compared to 2 of 5 freebies for the Hoos.
Overall, the hosts picked apart the defense to the tune of 53.7% shooting. The 3-point shooting played a big part of that, but Michael Young added 19 points with a lot of it coming through moves to the post. Pitt also grabbed 12 offensive rebounds for x second chance points, which was part of a 42-24 disparity on the boards.
”They got two very good scorers,” Bennett said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. ”Artis scored 24 and Young had 19. They certainly took advantage of some mismatches at times. We were a little loose. We didn’t have good coverage on some post traps and they made us pay. We made a valiant effort to get the game to overtime, but it’s frustrating they jumped out to a quick 9-point lead. A couple of just open rhythm shots that I felt or wished we could have contested better.”
Young’s work and the rebounding issues seemed to be related at least in part to the heavy use of four guard lineups by Virginia. With the Panthers switching screens all over the floor, it disrupted the Wahoos’ screen-heavy approach and with the hot shooting starting early – Pittsburgh led 15-8 out of the gates – the coaches wanted to try to free up the offense and spacing.
That decision paid dividends in that regard. UVA placed five players in double figures with London Perrantes leading the way with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Perrantes sent the game to overtime with 2.4 seconds remaining on a pull-up 3-point shot. That marked the second straight game that Virginia made a clutch triple in the final 10 seconds only to lose in the end.
Devon Hall added career-highs of 15 points and 9 rebounds. Marial Shayok scored 14 points, Darius Thompson had 11, and Jarred Reuter ended up with 10. All three of those players came off the bench as Kyle Guy got his first career start. He finished with 2 points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Virginia shot 49.3% from the floor and 40.0% from 3-point range, but that wasn’t enough to keep up with the 3’s and free throws from Pittsburgh.
”I thought we played well in spurts, but we’ve got to find a way to play all 40 minutes,” Perrantes said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. ”We knew obviously that their offense was their strong suit and their defense, they like to switch it so we just didn’t want to settle. We wanted to create off the bounce, get into the lane, and knock down open shots.”