CBKB: Robinson's 25 rally No. 16 Pitt past Cards, 823-77
By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH — Nasir Robinson scored a career-high 26 points and No. 16 Pittsburgh staged a frantic rally in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, then avoided a third consecutive home loss to Louisville by winning 82-77 on Saturday.
Pitt (15-2, 5-0 Big East) won its eighth straight overall and 31st in succession at the Petersen Events Center — the second-longest streak in major college basketball to Kansas' 52 — despite trailing most of the second half.
Samardo Samuels scored 25 points for Louisville (12-6, 3-2), which led by as many as six points and was ahead 68-63 with 34 seconds remaining.
Brad Wanamaker scored 20 points for the Panthers, including the five points they needed to get to overtime after Louisville missed four of five free throws in the final 42 seconds of regulation.
Preston Knowles added 21 points for the Cardinals, whose only three losses in their last 10 games were to Pitt, No. 2 Kentucky and No. 4 Villanova.
Louisville can only blame itself for failing to close out another upset at Pitt. The Cardinals were 10 of 17 at the free throw line after going 39 of 45 during their 92-84 loss at Villanova on Monday. Pitt was 24 of 30 at the line, with Wanamaker going 11 of 12.
Robinson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, hadn't scored more than 15 points during his two-season career before making 11 of 14 shots and adding a team-high 11 rebounds. But it was Wanamaker, who scored 19 points Wednesday when Pitt won its third straight on the road by beating No. 15 Connecticut, who gave the Panthers a chance to win it.
Wanamaker hit a 3-pointer with 15.6 seconds remaining and, after Edgar Sosa missed one of two free throws with 11.7 seconds, Wanamaker tied it by making two from the line with 1.9 seconds remaining. Sosa scored 13 points but was only 3 of 7 at the line.
Ashton Gibbs, Pitt's leading scorer, put the Panthers ahead for the first time since they led 49-48 by hitting a 3-pointer 53 seconds into overtime. He scored 15 points despite making only one field goal in the first half. Jermaine Dixon, who missed six of his first seven shots but scored three key baskets in overtime, followed with an off-balance jumper from the wing that made it 74-69.
Louisville cut it to 78-77 on Knowles' fifth 3-pointer with 25 seconds to play. Gibbs made two free throws with 16.4 to play and, after Jared Swopshire couldn't hit a desperation 3-pointer, Dixon finished it off by scoring inside.
The Cardinals, whose starting lineup included three players who have won previously at Pitt, also won there in 2007 and 2008, with its victory there on Feb. 24, 2008, the last by an opposing team. No other opposing team has won more than once at the Petersen Events Center. Louisville also beat Pitt last season at home after Pitt ascended to No. 1 in the AP poll.
Pitt has won 11 of its last 12 despite being picked to finish ninth in the Big East after losing four of five starters from last season's 31-5 team. The Panthers are 6-0 since forward Gilbert Brown (academically ineligible) and Dixon (broken foot) returned to the lineup and are 5-0 in Big East play for the third time, also doing it in 2002-03 and 2006-07.