Jan. 14, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) – Coming off its first Atlantic Coast Conference victory of the season, Georgia Tech led at halftime but couldn’t hold off a team that furiously pounded the boards all night long. The Panthers remained perfect in the ACC with an 81-74 victory.
The most glaring column on the stat sheet? Pitt’s 38-18 rebounding lead.
“Obviously, we didn’t rebound worth anything,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “You’ve got to hit people, you’ve got to find the ball. We didn’t do that.”
Talib Zanna scored 22 points and James Robinson added 16 for the Panthers (16-1, 4-0).
The first 20 minutes were tight, with 11 lead changes and neither team getting up by more than five points. Georgia Tech (10-7, 1-3) closed the period with a flourish, taking advantage of two turnovers to rip off a quick 6-0 run that prompted Dixon to disgustedly call a timeout with 57 seconds remaining.
Robinson hit a jumper to halt the spurt, and Georgia Tech squandered a chance to take some momentum to the locker room when Marcus Georges-Hunt missed a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Yellow Jackets settled for a 35-32 lead.
The second half was totally different. Pittsburgh scored nine straight points to take the lead for good and wore down the Yellow Jackets, who were playing with only eight scholarship players because of injuries and illness. Zanna led the Panthers with nine rebounds, while Patterson and Young chipped in with seven apiece. No one from Georgia Tech had more than five.
“This is the first team I’ve seen in the ACC that attacks the glass like they did,” Georges-Hunt said. “If one guy misses, they’re all on the glass.”
Giving Pitt a bit of a scare in the final minute, Georgia Tech got as close as 78-74 before the Panthers sealed it at the free throw line. It was their closest victory of the season, the first 15 coming by an average of 17.8 points.
The previous day, Pittsburgh moved into The Associated Press poll for the first time this season.
Cameron Wright had 14 points, 12 in the second half. Lamar Patterson scored all 12 of his points after the break, bouncing back after missing all five shots in the first half.
“I’m really happy with how we did it, how we responded,” Dixon said. “Rebounding is something we have to do to win on the road. To lead by that kind of margin is good.”
The Panthers went just 2 of 7 beyond the arc but didn’t need any long-range shooting the way they were controlling things on the inside.
Pitt beat Georgia Tech for the first time in school history. The Yellow Jackets came into the game holding a 5-0 lead in the series, but that didn’t mean much since the teams had not played since Dec. 28, 1989, when Georgia Tech won 111-92 at the long-since-demolished Omni in downtown Atlanta.