Villanova Falls To Pitt In Overtime, 73-64
Sports Fan Insider
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Talib Zanna scored nine of his 14 points in overtime and No. 23 Pittsburgh rallied past Villanova 73-64 on Sunday.
Zanna added a career-high 19 rebounds for the Panthers (23-7, 11-6 Big East), who trailed by as much as nine in the second half. James Robinson also had 14 points for Pitt, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 33 seconds left in regulation and another in overtime that gave the Panthers a five-point lead.
Ryan Arcidiacono led Villanova with 23 points but the Wildcats (18-12, 9-8) let an opportunity to pad their NCAA tournament resume slip away in the final Big East game at Petersen Events Center.
Zanna, who has struggled the last two months, scored the first seven points of overtime and Pitt held on to win its third straight.
Tray Woodall scored 13 points and handed out 11 assists on Senior Day. Classmate and best friend Dante Taylor added seven points and six boards in a rare start and put an exclamation point on the victory with an emphatic dunk in the final seconds.
Taylor played 24 minutes while filling in for freshman center Steven Adams, who was forced to sit with a sprained left ankle.
The Wildcats led 35-26 the second half but couldn’t make it stand up. Pitt rallied behind the play of Woodall and freshmen Durand Johnson and James Robinson.
Villanova appeared to be in control after Mouphtaou Yarou turned two straight possessions extended by offensive rebounds into buckets. The 6-foot-10 senior hit a pair of 17-footers, the second of which put Villanova up 56-52 with 1:21 to play.
Woodall countered with two free throws and after JayVaughn Pinkston made just 1 of 2 at the line, Robinson drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 33 seconds to go that tied it at 57.
The Wildcats wound the clock down but Arcidiacono’s runner in the lane glanced off Taylor’s hands and out of bounds. Villanova inbounded underneath the basket, but the entry pass to squirted away from Pinkston as the clock wound down.
Zanna, who dominated during nonconference play but has almost disappeared the last two months, took over in overtime. He opened the extra session with a traditional three-point play then added two free throws and a short jumper to give Pitt a 64-57 lead.
Villanova pulled within 66-64 on a 3-pointer by Arcidiacono but Robinson responded by calmly draining a 3 from the left corner with 30 seconds left and the Wildcats never scored again.
The final regular season game in a rivalry that dates back to 1960 looked a lot like the 64 meetings that came before. Neither team could muster much momentum early as things turned physical quickly.
The first half featured more fouls (21) than field goals (18) as Pittsburgh was unable to maintain an emotional lift from Taylor, making his first start of the season on senior day with several members of his extended family in attendance for the first time.
Even with the 7-foot Adams out, Villanova opted to work from the outside in. Arcidiacono knocked down 3 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes as the Wildcats — desperately trying to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing it last spring — took a 28-25 lead into the break.
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