December 4, 2019 / 4:31 AM / 7 days ago

Pitt gets rolling in second half to beat Rutgers

Xavier Johnson scored 20 points, Trey McGowens added 16 and Pittsburgh defeated visiting Rutgers 71-60 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday.

Dec 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Geo Baker (0) shoots the ball prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Petersen Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Murphy also had 15 for the Panthers, who improved to 7-2 and won their fifth in a row.

Myles Johnson paced the Scarlet Knights with 14 points and 14 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass. Ron Harper Jr. added 14 points and 10 rebounds while Montez Mathis had 14 points.

Rutgers fell to 6-2 and had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Pittsburgh committed only two turnovers and took a 28-21 lead with 6:04 left in the first half on a tough basket by Murphy, who missed the free throw for a potential three-point play. Turnovers had been an ongoing issue for the Panthers in their first eight games.

Myles Johnson was fouled on Rutgers’ next possession and missed both free throws badly. A 45 percent free throw shooter, Johnson misfired on his first three free throws. Yet Johnson made amends with an offensive rebound and layup the next time on offense and Rutgers trailed 28-23.

Pittsburgh missed two shots in the final 10 seconds and still led 35-27 at halftime thanks to 11 points from Murphy. Rutgers went just 3 of 13 from 3-point territory.

Rutgers came out aggressive and quickly tied the game at 37 when Mathis drove to the basket and scored with 15:29 remaining.

McGowens picked up his fourth steal and then knocked down a 15-foot jumper as the Panthers regained a six-point lead at 45-39. Murphy hit a 3-pointer from the corner on their next possession for a 48-39 advantage.

When Johnson converted a layup with 4:00 left, the Scarlet Knights trailed 62-54. The lead was cut to 65-58 after Harper’s baseline drive and dunk with 2:19 left.

But Eric Hamilton followed with a jumper for Pittsburgh to go back ahead by nine. McGowens put the Panthers up 71-58 with 59 seconds left and that was more than enough of a cushion.

—Field Level Media

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