Friday, March 05, 2010
Gibbs Beats Buzzer as Pitt Escapes Friars
It wasn't supposed to be a close game. After all, Providence had lost 8 straight games and #17 Pitt was on its home court. But the way the game turned out, the Panthers needed a near-mid-court heave at the buzzer from their best shooter, Ashton Gibbs, to finally take down Providence, 73-71.
Gibbs' trey gave him a game-high 25 points. Better yet, the win gave Pitt a double bye in next week's Big East tournament, and, with a win against Rutgers (another game Pitt is "supposed" to win easily) and a Villanova loss to West Virginia on Saturday would make Pitt the #2 seed in the tourney, an enviable position, ensuring that they would not have to face Syracuse unless it was in the final.
Gibbs, who hit 9 of 13 shots and 6 of his 9 3-point attempts, was not alone in his starring role. Teammate Jermaine Dixon poured in a career-high 24 points and added 12 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double. Providence was kept in the game largely due to the effort of their 6'6" sophomore stud, Jamine Peterson, who scored 24 points and hauled in 18 boards for his 15th double-double of the season. Despite the Friars being just 4-13 in the Big East, Peterson should get plenty of votes as conference player of the year. He has dominated the lane in just about every game this season.
Notable: Michigan State kept its hopes alive for a share of the Big Ten title Thursday night with a 67-65 win over Penn State in which the Spartans nearly blew a 10-point lead late in the game. The Spartans need a win over Michigan to tie Ohio State and Purdue, the Boilermakers expected to win their season-ender on Saturday at Penn State. In that case, all three would end with identical 14-4 records, but Ohio State would be the #1 seed in the conference tournament, Purdue, #2 and the Spartans, the #3 seed.