PITTSBURGH — Pitt survived its toughest test of the season Saturday, holding on late to beat North Alabama, 71-66.
It wasn’t pretty from very many angles for the Panthers, who were very inconsistent finishing both at the rim and from long range.
They shot a season-low 38.8 percent from the field and got only nine points from leading scorer Jared Wilson-Fame, but found a way to will themselves to victory.
Xavier Johnson did most of the scoring, as the freshman point guard led all scorers with 23.
The youngster was posted throughout the final moments, making several athletics drives to the basket with the game on the line and also hit two free-throws with less than two seconds left that came after a Jared Wilson-Frame block that sealed the victory.
Pitt didn’t do much inside, with Kene Chukwuka’s six points the only contributions from the three forwards. The guards had trouble at the rim, as well, which contributed the Panthers’ low shooting percentage.
Despite that, they outscored North Alabama in the paint, 34-22, mostly through 14 fast break points.
The Panthers will get a much sterner test up next, with Atlantic 10 preseason favorite Saint Louis next on the docket. That game will be played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday.