PITTSBURGH -- Travon Woodall scored a career-high 29 points
and Ashton Gibbs added 25 to lead Pittsburgh to a 79-70 win over
Villanova on Sunday, its fourth straight win.
The Panthers (15-9, 4-7 Big East) led by as many as 18 in the
second half, though the Wildcats (10-13, 3-8 Big East) were able to
trim that lead to three on a pair of Jayvaughn Pinkston free throws
with 22.3 seconds left.
Villanova, losers of three straight, couldn't get any closer.
Woodall then snared a long pass and made the layup while Ty
Johnson was called for an intentional foul. Woodall hit both free
throws to seal the game.
Pittsburgh, which has used improved shooting to win its previous
three games, struggled at the outset.
The Panthers made just one of their first eight shots - a
game-opening 3-pointer by Lamar Patterson - and trailed 21-16 with
7:19 left in the first half. But Pitt would recover from that early
slump to hit 12 of its next 15 shots and sprint away on a 22-2 run.
Both Gibbs and Woodall drilled a pair of 3's during the run, and
when Taylor was fouled on a dunk and made the ensuing free throw,
the Panthers took a 38-23 lead. Pitt took a 40-28 halftime lead
into the locker room despite committing nine turnovers and allowing
the Wildcats to pull down 10 offensive rebounds.
Villanova, which missed its first six shots of the game,
couldn't match the Panthers' hot shooting. The Wildcats shot just
30.3 percent in the first half (10 of 33), including 25 percent
from 3-point range (2 of 8). Wayns, the team's top scorer, made
just 3 of 10 first-half shots.
After shooting 53.8 percent in the first half (14 of 26), the
Panthers struggled in the second, shooting just 32 percent (8 of
25). But Pitt hit 27 of 31 free throws for the game, compared to 18
of 23 for Villanova.