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Pittsburgh Bests Wildcats 73-64 in Overtime
Ryan Arcidiacono

March 3, 2013

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Pittsburgh (23-7 overall, 11-6 BIG EAST) scored the first seven points of overtime and went on to post a 73-64 victory over Villanova (18-12 overall, 9-8 BIG EAST) here at the Petersen Events Center on Sunday. Two huge 3-pointers from Panthers freshman James Robinson, including one to tie the game late in regulation and another with 28.3 seconds left in overtime helped spark the Panthers' win.

Villanova was led by 23 points from freshman Ryan Arcidiacono. Mouphtaou Yarou added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats.

Robinson and Talib Zanna scored 14 points apiece for the Panthers. Zanna also collected 19 rebounds for Pitt while Tray Woodall handed out 11 assists.

Senior Dante Taylor gave the Panthers the early edge with a pair of low-post hook shots before Villanova answered with four points of its own. Gritty defense kept both offenses in check as the clubs were a combined 3-of-18 from the field in the game's first six minutes.

The Wildcats grabbed an 8-6 lead after sophomore JayVaughn Pinkston dropped in two free throws. Pitt answered with a 6-0 run to establish a 12-8 advantage before two more free throws, these from Arcidiacono, cut the gap to 12-10 with 7:43 left before halftime.

Woodall dropped in Pitt's first 3-pointer of the day to stake the Panthers to an 18-14 lead with 5:20 to go in the period. However, the Wildcats closed the period on a 14-7 run, keyed by the accuracy of Arcidiacono and Pinkston's work on the interior.

At intermission, Villanova held a 28-25 lead. Arcidiacono led all first half scorers with 13 points while Pinkston added seven more. VU converted 8-of-21 from the field in the first half (.381) while Pitt was 10-of-27 (.370) in the period. Woodall set the scoring pace for Pitt with seven points and four assists.

The Wildcats scored the first five points of the second half and crafted a 35-26 lead early in the period. Junior Tony Chennault helped ignite the run with a nifty feed to Mouphtaou Yarou for a dunk.

Yet even as the lead grew, foul trouble became an issue for the `Cats. Yarou, Bell, Pinkston and Chennault all had three personals before the half was five minutes old and Ochefu soon picked up his fourth foul with just over 15 minutes to play in the period.

Pitt used an 11-5 surge to draw within 40-37 after Durand Johnson dropped in a long contested 3-pointer near the 12 minute mark of the period. The Panthers pulled even a few moments later when Woodall dropped in a running bank shot from the right side of the lane. It was 43 all with 10:02 remaining.

However, Arcidiacono sank baskets on two straight possessions, including a 3-pointer to give Villanova back the lead at 48-43. A Talib Zanna basket on an offensive rebound - the Panthers 10th of the day - cut the gap to 48-45 with 7:14 on the second half clock.

The back and forth battle continued into the final minute. Yarou sank two huge face-up jumpers that were answered by Pitt's Lamar Patterson and Tray Woodall. The Wildcats held a 56-54 lead with 1:06 remaining after a pair of Woodall free throws.

A free throw by JayVaughn Pinkston gave VU a 57-54 lead with 58 seconds left. But James Robinson drained a 3-pointer from the right corner after the Panthers regained possession with an offensive rebound. Villanova held possession but was unable to generate a field goal attempt so the contest head into overtime deadlocked at 57.

The first two minutes of the extra session saw the Panthers outscore the Wildcats 7-0. The dribble penetration of Woodall help set up the first basket of the period for Zanna, who later added three free throws. Villanova got to within 66-64 with 58 seconds left after Arcidiacono sank his fifth 3-pointer of the afternoon but another huge triple by Robinson pushed the lead back to five. The final was 73-64.

The Wildcats return to Philadelphia to wrap up the regular season on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against No. 7 Georgetown (7:00 p.m./ESPN2/1210 WPHT Radio).