The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

March 8, 2014

Pitt slips past Clemson in OT

Clemson, S.C. —  Lamar Patterson had a career-high 30 points, including a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, as Pittsburgh overcome a five-point deficit in the final seconds of regulation and beat Clemson 83-78 in overtime Saturday.

Patterson’s 3 with 3 seconds left cut the Tigers’ lead to 67-65. Josh Newkirk picked up a loose ball as Clemson fumbled the inbounds pass and hit a tying jumper that just beat the buzzer. Officials took several minutes reviewing Newkirk’s shot and decided there wasn’t indisputable evidence to rule it came after time ran out.

Given new life, Patterson struck for his fifth 3-pointer as the Panthers (23-8, 11-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) scored the first seven points of the extra period.

The Tigers (19-11, 10-8) could not recover. Pittsburgh finished its first ACC season in fifth place.

K.J. McDaniels had 24 points lead the Tigers, who were seeking their first-ever 11-win ACC season.

Clemson twice got within three points in the final minute of overtime, the last when Rod Hall stole the inbounds pass and hit a layup with 19 seconds left. But Cameron Wright followed with two clinching foul shots. Wright had 16 points and Talib Zanna 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Patterson was 10 of 19 from the field and matched his previous best set against Cal Poly this past December.

For much of the game, it looked like the Tigers were in control.

Clemson was up 48-38 after Roper’s third 3 with 12:54 left. But Pittsburgh followed with an 18-8 run, highlighted by Patterson’s takeover. He had a basket, then a three-point play to draw the Panthers within in point. He struck for a 3-pointer 3 minutes later to cut Clemson’s lead to 56-54, then tied it moments later a fast-break layup.

Patterson tied the game one last time at 60-all with 3:44 to go before McDaniels’ running jam put the Tigers up for good.

This game featured a pair of teams heading in different directions.

Pittsburgh was ranked much of the year as it opened 6-1 its first season in the ACC. But things have gotten tougher for the Panthers the past few weeks as they’ve gone just 4-6 heading into the season finale.

Clemson, picked 14th out of 15 ACC teams when the season began, has been one of the league’s biggest surprises and has won four of its past five to keep faint hopes of an NCAA trip alive.

It was also a game of contrasting styles with the high-pace, high-possession Panthers attacking whenever they saw a crack in the defense. The Tigers rely on their defense, ranked second in the country in fewest points allowed, and taking their time on offense.

Pittsburgh got the better of things when the teams met up North in January with 76-43 victory.

Pittsburgh showed it could play some defense, too, in its first trip to Littlejohn Coliseum. It forced six turnovers in the first 9 minutes to lead 17-13. That’s when Clemson took off on a 19-4 run over the next 7 minutes, helped by four 3-pointers by four different Tigers.

Jordan Roper got things going with a 3-pointer, his first in 8 games, then McDaniels hit one from behind the arc to put Clemson in front 19-17.

Freshman Austin Ajukwa made a long-range goal a short time later before Jaron Blossomgame closed the surge with an open 3 for a 32-21 lead.

The Tigers made just one turnover the final 11 minutes and finished with their second-best shooting half (57.7 percent) of ACC play.

Patterson was held to 2-of-7 shooting while double-figure scorer Cameron Wright missed all four of his first-half attempts – until both heated up down the stretch. 

 

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