Xavier Johnson, Terrell Brown and Ryan Murphy each scored 13 points to lift host Pittsburgh past Florida State 63-61 on Wednesday.
The game marked the season opener and the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams. The Panthers, who were picked 10th in the ACC at Media Day, defeated Florida State for the second consecutive season. The Seminoles were tabbed for fifth in the ACC.
Trent Forrest, who missed a potential tying jumper at the buzzer, led Florida State with 19 points. Devin Vassell added all 14 of his points in the second half.
The Seminoles lost six of their top eight scorers from last season’s Sweet 16 team. The program compiled 52 wins over the previous two seasons.
Both teams looked sloppy until the midpoint of the first half as Florida State led 12-9 while shooting just 4 of 15. Pittsburgh’s shooting was worse, 2 of 15.
The ragged play continued as the Seminoles led 18-16 with 4:50 remaining before the break.
Murphy connected on consecutive 3-pointers for Pittsburgh as it went ahead 19-18.
After a slow start, Forrest hit two late jumpers for the Seminoles to tie the game at 25.
The Panthers then missed two shots in the final five seconds as the teams went into their locker rooms level.
Johnson, who was a member of last year’s ACC All-Freshmen Team, scored eight first-half points to lead Pittsburgh.
After going scoreless in the first half, Vassell knocked down an early 3-pointer followed by a pair of short jumpers to put Florida State ahead 32-26 with 17:39 remaining.
Vassell stayed hot and made two more shots for a 38-29 advantage.
The Panthers struggled offensively and missed five straight shots during one stretch. Murphy’s three treys kept them close, 40-35, with 11:52 left.
Pittsburgh then tightened up defensively and moved ahead 41-40 on Johnson’s 3-pointer with 10:19 left.
Johnson’s driving layup gave the Panthers a 56-54 advantage with 2:42 to go.
Forrest then responded with a tough basket inside to tie the game at 56.
Brown’s three-point play gave Pitt a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, 59-56.
Freshman Patrick Williams hit two free throws to close the Seminoles within 62-61 with 8.7 seconds left. McGowens hit 1 of 2 at the line with seven seconds remaining.
With Florida State down 63-61, Forrest had a chance to force overtime, but he missed a short jumper and time expired.
—Field Level Media