Panthers Escape With Thrilling 63-59 Win Over K-State in Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off Opener
Xavier Johnson scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including four in the decisive final seconds to give Pitt a 63-59 victory over Kansas State in the first semifinal of the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off on Monday night.
Trailing by one with just under 30 seconds to play, a missed K-State free throw gave Johnson and Pitt the opportunity for the go-ahead layup. Johnson drove the lane for a hanging right-handed layup with 11 seconds remaining to give the Panthers a 59-58 lead. After a subsequent K-State offensive foul, Johnson converted on two free throws with four seconds remaining to essentially put the game away.
Ryan Murphy and Eric Hamilton led the way for Pitt with 13 points each, while Hamilton added 12 rebounds. Justin Champagnie and Johnson each finished with 12. For the Wildcats, Cartier Diarra finished with 13 points and DaJuan Gordon had 12. Pitt moves to 5-2 on the season, while K-State (4-1) suffers its first loss of the season.
Pitt will take on either Northwestern or Bradley in the championship game of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by FS1. K-State will face either team in the consolation game at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.