(Pitt (in white) on offense in the first half against Saint Louis – Photo by Jason Schott)
In the Barclays Center Classic on Wednesday afternoon, Pittsburgh powered past Saint Louis, 75-73, to improve to 6-0 on the season under new Head Coach Jeff Capel.
Pitt was led by Xavier Johnson, who had 20 points, including 17 in the second half, on 6-11 from the field, including 1-1 from behind the arc, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Malik Ellison and Sidy N’Dir had 13 points each, with N’Dir’s coming off the bench on 5-8 shooting (2-3 on three-pointers) with 3 assists.
Saint Louis was led by Jordan Goodwin, who had 16 points on 8-11 from the field, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Hasahn French had a double-double with 13 points (6-12 FG) and 10 rebounds, along with 6 blocks and 2 assists.
This was an incredibly even game between a Saint Louis team that is favored to win the Atlantic 10 and a Pitt squad looking to rebound from a season in which they went winless in ACC play.
The largest lead anyone had in this one was seven, which belonged to Pitt with 1:12 left in the first half when N’Dir hit a three-pointer to make it 38-31. A late Saint Louis basket made it 38-33 Pitt at halftime.
The largest lead in the second half was three points, and a basket from Saint Louis’ Carte’Are Gordon tied it at 70 with 4:07 left.
It stayed that way for nearly the next three minutes, until a Xavier Johnson layup put Pitt up two with 1:19 left.
Gordon missed a layup to tie it with 56 seconds left, and St. Louis had another chance to tie it with four seconds left, but Hasahn French missed the first of a one-and-one at the line.
Johnson hit a pair of free throws to give Pitt a 74-70 lead, and St. Louis’ Javon Bess his a three with 0.3 left to pull them within one.
N’Dir was fouled on the inbounds pass, and he hit his first free throw at the line before missing the second to let the clock run out, and Pitt walked out of Brooklyn with a 75-73 win.