EditorsNote: Corrects Pitt rebound total; minor edits throughout
Xavier Johnson’s stickback with 1:19 left snapped a tie and lifted Pittsburgh to a 75-73 win over Saint Louis in the Barclays Center Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Johnson scored a game-high 20 points for the Panthers, who improved to 6-0 under first-year coach Jeff Capel with a win over the preseason Atlantic 10 Conference favorites. Malik Ellison and Sidy N’Dir chipped in 13 apiece.
Jordan Goodwin paced the Billikens (4-1) with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Hasahn French tallied 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots, while Javon Bess scored 12 points. D.J. Foreman contributed 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Saint Louis had two chances to tie the game after Johnson’s bucket.
First, Freshman Carte’Are Gordon missed a layup with 56 seconds remaining. Later, French drew a foul from Johnson with four seconds left but couldn’t connect on the front end of a one-and-one.
Johnson drilled two free throws after being fouled to make the lead four. Bess drilled a 3-pointer with less than a second left. N’Dir was fouled and made the first free throw, then missed the second so that time would expire.
Pittsburgh won despite getting outrebounded 43-36. The Panthers made up for that by outscoring the Billikens 23-10 at the foul line.
Both teams got off to a slow start in a physical first half which saw them combine for 26 fouls and 29 free throws, 22 by Pittsburgh. Saint Louis made the first run, getting three straight layups from Goodwin during an 8-0 spurt that gave it a 12-8 lead with 12:28 left in the half.
The Panthers fought back and grabbed a 21-18 edge when Ellison stole the ball and converted a layup at the 7:50 mark, but the Billikens evened the score at 23 on Fred Thatch’s tip-in with 5:55 remaining.
Pittsburgh controlled the half’s remainder, regaining the lead and pushing it to 38-31 when N’Dir stroked a 3-pointer with 1:12 left. But a Foreman layup nine seconds before halftime drew Saint Louis within five at intermission.
—Field Level Media