KNOXVILLE - Presented with another chance at a quality win, Tennessee's basketball team again struggled to make the timely plays in crucial moments.
Pittsburgh beat the Volunteers 61-56 on Saturday evening at Thompson-Boling Arena thanks to a big advantage in offensive rebounding and timely shots down the stretch of the second half.
Led by bruising forward Nasir Robinson's 16-point, 12-rebound performance, the 17th-ranked Panthers grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and scored 18 second-chance points. Pitt closed the first half on a 7-0 run to erase a 26-20 deficit. The Panthers used a 6-0 spurt to take the lead and a 9-2 run to go up 53-46 with less than five minutes left.
Ashton Gibbs had seven straight points in the 9-2 run on his way to 16 points.
After Cameron Tatum's trey cut Pitt's lead to 55-50, Lamar Patterson canned a 3-pointer. But the Panthers missed two front ends of one-and-one opportunities, and Trae Golden's 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left made it 58-56. After Dante Taylor missed another free throw, Gibbs tied up Golden with 3.6 seconds left, and the possession arrow gave Pitt the ball.
John Johnson broke free and converted a three-point play with 1.8 seconds left to seal the win.
Tatum led UT with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Golden and Jeronne Maymon scored 12 apiece, but Maymon, the Vols' leading rebounder, didn't secure his first rebound until late in the game. Kenny Hall scored eight points and grabbed 12 boards.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...