PITTSBURGH 74 – UNC-ASHEVILLE 51
Things went about as planned for the No. 1 seeded Pittsburgh Panthers on Thursday afternoon against No. 16 UNC-Asheville.
The Bulldogs kept the game close in the first half, going into the half only down by 5 but the Panthers pulled away in the second half, en route to a 74-51 victory at the Verizon Center in the Southeast Region bracket.
Pittsburgh outscored UNC-Asheville, 44-26 in the second half as Ashton Gibbs scored 20 of his 26 points after halftime and shot 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the second half.
The Panthers, as expected, dominated the Bulldogs on the boards, out-rebounding UNC-Asheville 50-27. Gary McGhee led the Panthers with 11 rebounds.
Pitt had a significant size advantage down low as the Bulldogs did not have a starter taller than 6-foot-5. That was an area many predicted would be a nightmare matchup for the Bulldogs.
Turnovers which have plagued the Panthers against better competition, played a factor in the game being close early as Pitt committed 8 turnovers in the first half. The Panthers finished with 12 turnovers in the game.
The Panthers (28-5) will face No. 8 Butler in the next round. The Bulldogs beat No. 9 Old Dominion, 60-58, thanks to a game winning basket from Matt Howard with 0.1 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs last second win was one of many thrilling finishes today in the Ncaa Tournament.
Locally, also advancing today, included No. 5 West Virginia who defeated No. 12 Clemson 84-76. West Virginia will face No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday afternoon the East Region.
In the West Region, No. 10 Penn State was knocked out by No. 7 Temple, 66-64 on a last second score by the Owls.
At least from a seeding standpoint, the first big upset of the tournament was No. 13 Morehead St beating No. 4 Louisville, 62-61 in the Midwest Region.