Pitt beats St. John's in first round of Big East tourney

March 6, 2012 5:11 pm

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NEW YORK -- No. 12 seed Pitt defeated No. 13 seed St. John's, 73-59, in the first round of the Big East tournament this afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Seniors Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson, who had not won a conference tournament game in their first three seasons, led the way. Gibbs had 20 points and Robinson 15.

Pitt (17-15) advances to play No. 5 seed Georgetown (22-7) at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The Panthers beat Georgetown, 72-60, in a January game at the Petersen Events Center.

Pitt led 33-28 at halftime. The Panthers began to pull away in the early stages of the second half. They outscored the Red Storm, 15-8, to open the half and took a 48-36 lead after John Johnson nailed a 3-pointer with 12:33 remaining.

St. John's (13-19) never got back in the game after that.

The Panthers finished the first half on a 13-2 run over the final 4:45 of the half to take their five-point lead at intermission.

Gibbs scored 15 points in the half, including three 3-pointers. His third 3-pointer started the run and was only Pitt's second field goal in more than seven minutes.

Moe Harkless had 13 points in the first half for St. John's.

The Red Storm controlled play for much if the half. After falling behind 8-2, they went on a 24-10 run to take a 26-20 lead.

But in the final 4:45, their only points came on a Sir'Dominic Pointer bucket while his teammates missed their final six shots of the half.

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @rayfitt1.
First Published 2012-03-06 15:47:41

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