Turnover-prone Pitt outlasts Towson 63-59 behind Parker
PITTSBURGH (AP) — After going 1 for 16 from 3-point range in the first half, Pittsburgh shot 6 of 12 in the second half, including some big shots down the stretch as the Panthers rallied to beat Towson, 63-59, on Friday.
Towson led for almost 28 minutes, but couldn’t close, as Pitt finally made some key shots down the stretch. Freshman point guard Marcus Carr hit a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 2:18 left to tie the game.
He then drove the lane and fed a pass to Jonathan Milligan, who hit a floating layup to give Pitt a 61-59 lead with 52 seconds left. Milligan and Khameron Davis each made a free throw in the last eight seconds to seal the win.
Freshman guard Parker Stewart led the Panthers with 13 points and was one of the few Pitt players to get going in the first half. He had eight of his 13 before the break.
“The shots we had were pretty open,” Stewart said. “We just weren’t hitting shots in the first half. . We know we have some guys that can shoot the ball. We kept shooting them.”
While Pitt (8-5) was able to get more looks in its half-court offense after the break, they had trouble throughout with Towson’s press, something that has been an issue all year for the Panthers.
Pitt entered the game ranked No. 197 in the country with 14 turnovers per game and increased their average by handing the ball over 21 times. Carr had six turnovers and Towson’s press gave the Panthers trouble all night.
“Just not enough attention to detail,” Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings said. “There are all sorts of different problems. . We can do it, it’s just a matter of getting it done.”
Towson (10-3) guard Zane Martin finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the floor.
Towson built a nine-point lead late in the first half, but Pitt scored twice with under a minute to go and made a 14-2 run on either side of the break to flip the game back into the Panthers’ favor and set up a back-and-forth second half.
Towson: The Tigers haven’t had to do a lot of self-evaluation after a loss this year, but they’ve dropped back-to-back games for the first time. Head coach Pat Skerry attributed the pair of close losses to quality opponents to a lack of attention to detail.
“Those are the type of things that I’m probably a little bit frustrated with, that I haven’t gotten the message across to these guys,” Skerry said. “If we get that message across, we’ll be right in position to win our league. If we don’t, the odds are you’re going to have one of these types of heartbreaking losses.”
Pitt: Defeated its toughest opponent of the season in the Tigers, who were ranked No. 35 in RPI coming into the game. The Panthers’ previous best win was over No. 45 UC Santa Barbara. Pitt is ranked No. 182. Pitt’s next four opponents are all inside the top 100.
Towson won’t play again until they start CAA play with a visit to College of Charleston on Dec. 30. The Tigers will go 27 days without a home game during their current four-game road set.
Pitt also has eight days between games before hosting Miami for their first ACC game of the season on Dec. 30. That game will tip off at 4 p.m.