Eric Hamilton had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Ryan Murphy added 13 points and Xavier Johnson scored four in the final seconds as Pittsburgh defeated Kansas State 63-59 in the semifinals of the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Monday in Florida.
The Panthers (5-2) will play Northwestern in the championship game on Wednesday. The Wildcats (4-1) will oppose Bradley in the consolation game.
Johnson and Justin Champagnie added 12 each for Pittsburgh, which has won three in a row. Pittsburgh won despite committing 21 turnovers and going 1 for 16 on 3-pointers.
Kansas State retained possession with a 58-57 lead and 35.4 seconds remaining. Xavier Sneed missed a jumper, Levi Stockard III grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled with 23.4 seconds left. Stockard, an 83 percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Johnson converted a driving layup for a 59-58 Pittsburgh advantage. On Kansas State’s next possession, Cartier Diarra was whistled for an offensive foul. Johnson then hit two free throws for a three-point advantage with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Diarra led Kansas State with 13 points while DaJuan Gordon added 12.
Kansas State jumped out to a 9-0 lead before Pittsburgh settled down and closed within 14-8 with 10:51 remaining in the first half.
Gordon later knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner as the Wildcats extended their advantage to 20-10.
Murphy connected on a trey from the wing for the Panthers, who trailed 22-15 with 6:16 left.
The Wildcats held a 30-28 halftime advantage, their first all season.
Murphy hit a tough 15-foot jumper to put the Panthers ahead 38-35 with 14:33 left.
The Wildcats responded with a pair of 3-pointers to lead 41-38.
Terrell Brown eventually corralled a tough offensive rebound and threw down a two-handed dunk for Pittsburgh as it led 42-41.
Shaun Williams, who was suspended for the first three games this season, knocked down a 3-pointer for Kansas State, which went back ahead 51-49 with 5:40 eft.
Pittsburgh responded with an 8-0 run for a 57-51 advantage.
Kansas State didn’t wilt and came back with seven straight points for a 58-57 lead with 2:45 left.
—Field Level Media