Pittsburgh vs St. John's

No. 12 Pittsburgh 71, St. John's 64


NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh refused to let its latest loss turn into a losing streak as it had twice before.

The 12th-ranked Panthers bounced back from a defeat to Notre Dame in which they faced their biggest deficit of the season with a 71-64 victory over St. John's on Saturday.

No second straight loss as had happened two other times this season.

"I was real happy with how we played, how we responded," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We had a good practice Thursday and Friday even with the obstacles such as traveling."

The Panthers couldn't fly into New York because of the storm that hit the Northeast this week, so they drove 7½ hours and didn't suffer any bus lag.

"Our offense was as good as it's been. We made good passes. We took good shots. Our offense is getting better," Dixon said. "We defended pretty well. There were some great performances from all our guys. It was a good team effort."

Coming off that 68-53 loss at Notre Dame that ended a four-game winning streak, Pittsburgh (22-7, 11-5) remained in the running for a double-bye in the Big East tournament.

The Panthers entered the game tied for third place with No. 8 West Virginia. The top four teams in the final standings begin play in the tournament quarterfinals.

Dixon didn't make it sound like that was something all the coaches were so concerned with, considering two of the top four lost in the quarterfinals last season.

"You would think on paper it would be a good thing but last year didn't turn out to be a good thing," Dixon said. "It's something the coaches have to talk about. On paper you would think so, but not everything on paper turns out the way you think."

Nasir Robinson scored 13 points, including Pittsburgh's first nine of the second half, to lead a balanced offense that saw all nine players who saw time score from 13 to three points.

"We believe everybody can play and step up when they're given the chance," said Robinson, who with a 6.3 point average is one of seven Panthers scoring between 16.2 and 5.1 points per game.

"I just came out trying to be aggressive and play my game," Robinson said of his scoring burst at the start of the second half. "I just felt confident and kept shooting. I knew I could take advantage."

The win gave the Panthers a 5-4 road record in the conference and improved their record at Madison Square Garden to 24-10 since 2000-01, including two Big East championships.

"We play hard and play defense at home so we just try to do it on the road, too," Robinson said.

Dwight Hardy had 15 points for the Red Storm (15-13, 5-11), who were playing their final home game of the season.

Pittsburgh led 31-23 at halftime and was never able to pull away from the Red Storm as it had in the previous four meetings. The Panthers won those games by an average of 23.2 points, including a 63-53 victory on Jan. 28.

They lived up to their reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the conference. The Panthers came in leading the Big East in points allowed (61.6), were third in defensive field goal percentage (39.8) and fourth in 3-point percentage against (31.5).

The Red Storm managed 64 points with a late flurry but didn't reach either of the other figures, shooting 36.2 percent from the field (21 of 58) and 13.3 percent from beyond the arc (2 of 15).

"As bad as we were shooting we were still right in the game, pretty much the whole game," St. John's D.J. Kennedy said. "I definitely felt like we were right there. It's just, you got to make shots against a team like that."

Gilbert Brown also had 13 points and Ashton Gibbs added 12 for the Panthers, who shot 51.1 percent from the field (24 of 47).

"We executed our offense. We ran our offense pretty well today," said Pitt center Gary McGhee, who had six points and 10 rebounds. "We moved the ball around a lot. Everybody got a touch and we were able to get some easy shots on the inside."

Kennedy had all 12 of his points in the second half for the Red Storm, who dropped to 0-6 this season against ranked teams.

"We defended enough to keep the score down but you have to make shots, you have to make free throws against a good team," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. "Pittsburgh is one of the toughest teams in the country to play against because they grind it out and don't let you back in it."

St. John's used four straight free throws -- a rare feat since the Red Storm shot 20 of 30 from the line -- to get within 47-40 with 10:23 left. Gibbs and Brown sandwiched 3-pointers around a basket by Justin Burrell to give the Panthers a 53-42 lead with 8:56 left. Their biggest lead of the second half was 66-54 with less than a minute to play.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Nasir Robinson (35) has some help from Gary McGhee in celebrating a basket vs. St. John's.  (AP)
Nasir Robinson (35) has some help from Gary McGhee in celebrating a basket vs. St. John's. (AP)
Pittsburgh #12 (22-7) «314071
St. John's (15-13)234164
PITT:Gilbert Brown 13 Pts
PITT:Nasir Robinson 9 Reb
PITT:Brad Wanamaker 4 Ast
STJNNY:Dwight Hardy 15 Pts
STJNNY:Justin Burrell 8 Reb
STJNNY:Malik Boothe 2 Ast

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St. John'sPittsburgh
Dwight Hardy
Nasir Robinson
Pittsburgh Panthers
G. McGhee, C282-42-38126
B. Wanamaker, G283-72-21328
A. Gibbs, G262-77-862412
N. Robinson, F255-83-380313
J. Dixon, G172-30-00234
T. Woodall, G272-61-21336
G. Brown, G-F254-63-523213
D. Taylor, F113-40-02026
C. Adams, G51-20-00003
T. Frye, GDid Not Play
D. Miller, FDid Not Play
L. Patterson, G-FDid Not Play
J. Richardson, F-CDid Not Play
N. Rivers, GDid Not Play
T. Zanna, FDid Not Play
Totals 24-4718-2328142171
St. John's Red Storm
M. Boothe, G324-53-742311
P. Horne, G325-70-131311
S. Evans, F271-60-06012
A. Mason Jr., F231-52-22134
D. Kennedy, G-F194-113-650312
D. Hardy, G234-147-821415
J. Burrell, F202-75-68039
J. Brownlee, F70-10-02010
M. Stith, G70-00-00000
D. Coker, F-C50-10-01000
O. Lawrence, G-FDid Not Play
Q. Roberts, GDid Not Play
R. Thomas, FDid Not Play
Totals 21-5720-303352164
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina5-216-42
Boston College3-313-663
NC State3-313-671
Georgia Tech3-310-9139
Florida St.3-414-541
Notre Dame3-413-761
Miami (Fla.)2-313-423
Va. Tech2-413-6104
Wake Forest1-58-10127

Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Seton Hall4-315-516
St. Johns0-810-1076
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Michigan 55 Final
Ohio St 66
ND 78 Final
Kentucky 65 Final
Tenn 74
VANDY 89 Final
Arkansas 72
Baylor 70 Final
Oklahoma 63
Cincinnati 68 Final
W Virg 74
Texas 58 Final
Tx A&M 74
N Mexico 83 Final
BYU 81
Kansas 77 Final
Okla St 85
San Fran 69 Final
Missouri 53 Final
K-State 63
Illinois St 55 Final
N Iowa 61
NOVA 77 Final
Syracuse 95