Â DePaul 84 – Pittsburgh 81
Leading 81-77 with 14 seconds to play, Pitt (11-5, 0-3 Big East) stumbled once again blowing a last second lead, en route to a 84-81 loss to DePaul (10-4, 1-1 Big East) on Thursday night.
Pitt has lost four in a row under head coach Jamie Dixon for the first time and this is not just a tough stretch this team is going through. The Panthers have no true presence down low, can’t defend the perimeter as they consistently struggle against teams with solid guard play.
Due to an inability to close out tonight’s game, the storyline for Pitt tonight centered around a questionable coaching move of having a freshman in Isaiah Epps who rarely gets playing time in the game during the final seconds in a situation when a close game was going to be dictated by making free throws. Leading 81-79 with eight seconds to play, Epps missed two free throws with 8 second left and came into the game with just 1 career field goal at his disposal.
The Panthers unable to finish were torched by DePaul’s Brandon Young who scored 26 points, including a three-point play with 1.3 seconds left.
Young scored the game’s last seven points for the Blue Demons after Pitt (11-5, 0-3) held an 81-77 lead with under 17 seconds remaining. Young’s layup cut the Panthers’ lead to two points, followed by Epps missed two free throws.
Cleveland Melvin scored 20 points and Moses Morgan added 13 for DePaul, which before Thursday had won just two regular-season Big East games since 2008-09.
Talib Zanna led Pitt with 16 points and eight rebounds and Ashton Gibbs finished with 13 points for Pittsburgh. Pitt was outscored 53-43 in the second half