Pittsburgh attempts to start winning streak vs. Monmouth

National Sports

Pittsburgh finally won a game in the closing seconds by outlasting Colgate on Thursday night and will try to make it two straight when it hosts Monmouth on Sunday.

The Panthers (3-6) had lost consecutive games to Minnesota and Virginia, both by one point, on shots by their opponents in the final three seconds. But against Colgate, Femi Odukale blocked a shot in the waning seconds and the Panthers held on.

“We talked about how we had to get past ‘almost’ and I thought we did that (against Colgate),” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said Thursday about the loss to the Cavaliers on Dec. 3. “These guys stepped up and made big-time plays for us and we were able to pull one out.”

Capel also noted how his team limited Colgate to 68 points. The up-tempo Raiders had been averaging 76 points against Division I competition.

“I thought our defense was really good,” Capel said.

Pitt will face a similar challenge in Monmouth (7-2), which also likes to push the pace and nearly rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit in an 88-83 loss at St. John’s on Thursday night.

“I’m never happy with losing,” coach King Rice said afterward, “but we showed we can play with a Big East school in their building.”

Rice’s Hawks got 25 points in that game from Seton Hall grad transfer Shavar Reynolds, who is averaging 16.8 points to lead four players averaging double figures in scoring. He also is shooting 45.7 percent from 3-point range. The Hawks, who already have beaten Cincinnati on the road, are hitting 38.6 percent from long distance.

Transfer Walker Miller, a benchwarmer for four years at North Carolina, averages 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Hawks.

John Hugley (16.1 points, 7.4 rebounds) and Odukale (11.0 points, 3.6 assists) are Pitt’s mainstays on offense. The Panthers are shooting only 29.5 percent from 3-point range and miss Nike Sibande, who shot 43.6 percent from long distance last season but is out for the year with a torn ACL suffered in the preseason.

–Field Level Media

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