PITTSBURGH—After coming off a big win against Syracuse on Saturday and re-entering the top-25, Pitt played flat Monday night against visiting Seton Hall. A technical foul called on the Panthers with seven minutes left served as a spark though, and they pulled away for a 56-46 win at the Peterson Events Center.
"Winning any game is a positive. We don’t disregard any wins," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "You don't win every game the same way."
Pitt (19-5, 7-4 Big East) was up 40-39 and Steve Adams spun around the defender on the baseline and threw down a monstrous dunk. He was called for hanging on the rim though, and Seton Hall (13-10, 2-8 Big East) negated his dunk when Kyle Smith hit both free throws on the technical.
The Peterson Events Center crowd of 10,253 was mostly-flat until that point. As they turned rowdy responding to the call, the crowd was its loudest of the night and the Panthers fed off the energy and turned it up a notch on both sides of the ball.
"[The technical foul] was one of those things," Dixon said. "Hopefully, we learn from it. We responded well to it."
The Panthers responded indeed and out-scored the Pirates 14-5 from that point on. The key to their final stretch was shooting 12-for-15 from the free throw line.
"We made free throws down the stretch," Dixon said.
The game was tied 24-24 at the break.
Seton Hall took a 39-38 lead with 9:44 left in the second half but Lamar Patterson responded with a layup to retake the lead. He commented on the Panthers poor shooting performance. They shot less than 34 percent from the field.
"When your shots aren’t falling it does get frustrating," Patterson said. "It was a good sign that we fought through it and got some baskets (late) when we needed them."
Neither team scored over the next two and a half minutes before Adams' dunk (and subsequent technical foul) gave Pitt the momentum for good.
"Steve [Adams] is getting more comfortable," Patterson said. "Everyone can make plays and finish. They are getting into better position to score."
Patterson led Pitt with a double-double. He scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Tray Woodall joined him in doubled figures with 11 points. Woodall credited Seton Hall's defense in disrupting the Panthers' offensive rhythm.
"Give [Seton Hall] credit. They threw a bunch of junk defenses at us," Woodall said. "They played hard and did a great job."
Once again, it was rebounding that stuck out as a key in Pitt's win, according to Dixon. Pitt out-rebounded Seton Hall 40-28 including 15 offensive rebounds. Adams pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
"Our [rebounding] goal was between ten and fifteen. We out-rebounded them by twelve," Dixon said. "When we haven’t rebounded we haven’t won. The rebounding has improved. No question about it."
Seton Hall was led by Fuquan Edwin, who scored 23 points. The rest of the Pirate team scored 23 points combined. He was the only Pirate in double figures. Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard (who played college basketball at Pitt) credited the Panthers' size in disrupting the Pirate shooters.
"Pitt's size is the challenge. They beat you up so well," Willard said. "[Dixon's] teams always defend and they get offensive rebounds."
After playing three Big East games in three days, the Panthers will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati.
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