Things got a little dicey at the end, but the Virginia Cavaliers held on at Pitt for a 59-56 win to improve to 19-7 (11-5 ACC). Virginia led by as many as 14, but Pitt ended the game on a 17-6 run to have a chance to take the lead with 22 seconds left. The Panthers would miss, and one free throw from Key made things a three-point game with four seconds left.
Pitt was unable to get a shot off — despite calling a timeout before the play — and Virginia escaped with the win.
Kihei Clark led the Cavaliers with 17 points, and the Hoos had four scorers in double digits for the second straight game as Mamadi Diakite, Tomas Woldetensae, and Braxton Key all scored 10 points apiece.
Virginia shot 44% from the field and 33% from the game, and turned the ball over 16 times. Pitt shot just 39% from the field and 20% from two, but had 18 points off of turnovers. Xavier Johnson led the Panthers with 16 points.
The Cavaliers got out to a 9-5 lead early thanks to buckets from Woldetensae, Key, and Diakite, and a three from Huff. After Pitt rattled off a 7-0 run to take a 12-9 lead, Clark scored seven straight on his own to put the Hoos back on top 16-12 with 11 minutes to play in the first half.
In a true “game of runs”, Pitt scored the next six to retake the lead, but Virginia responded in kind with a 10-2 run of their own.
Despite two looks at it to end the half, Huff couldn’t connect, and the Hoos would take a 31-29 lead into the halftime break. Clark led the way for Virginia with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting, followed by Woldetensae with seven points and Key with six. Once again the turnover bug reared its ugly head as the Hoos gave it away eight times in the first half, leading to 11 points for the Panthers.
As a team, Virginia shot 52% from the field and 36% from three, including one make from Casey Morsell. After rolling his ankle against BC, the first year was questionable for the game.
Pitt turned it over seven times, and shot just 40% from the field, but they were 2-for-5 from three (40%) and added seven points at the free throw line. Johnson led the Panthers with eight points in the first half.
The two teams traded buckets to open the second half before Virginia went on an 11-0 run that gave them a 13-point cushion. Virginia’s scoring run spanned nearly five minutes, and was driven by five points from Clark and four from Diakite.
Pitt would cut that lead down the stretch to just two with 50 seconds left to play thanks to frustrating play from the Virginia offense. The Hoos would cement the game away with :04 seconds left after Braxton Key pulled down a rebound and was fouled, sending him to the free throw line.
Key would make the first but miss the second giving UVa the three point lead. Pitt would be unable to get a shot off at the buzzer, giving UVa the win.
The win gives UVa 19 on the season and an 11-5 record in the ACC. The win also clinches at least the 8 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament. With a few more outcomes, the Hoos could at least clinch the 6 seed before the weekend is over.