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Money Moment: Rebounding Key as Pitt Upsets Florida State



Following each Pitt men’s basketball game, we’ll bring you the Money Moment of the Game, brought to you by 7 Fields Wealth Management

PITTSBURGH — There were just 36 seconds left in what became a 63-61 Pitt lead on Wednesday night, the Panthers had a 1-point lead and the Seminoles had the ball.

Florida State’s Devin Vassell looked poised to spoil the Panther’s opener, with the Seminoles in perfect position to try for a quick shot and get the lead and a guaranteed chance to get the ball back.

Vassell drove the lane on the Pitt defense, but like they were able to do all night, the Panthers cut off that attack. Vassell made a desperate pass to point guard Trent Forrest, who drove into a zoo and missed his contested shot off the front rim.

Right there under the hoop to snatch the final rebound of the game for Pitt was 6-foot-2 three-point specialist Ryan Murphy.

Following the rebound Murphy, who might be Pitt’s best free-throw shooter, hit both of his foul shots to give Pitt a three-point lead that helped eventually seal the deal for the Panthers.

“Those are big time plays,” Murphy said. “Free throws win you games.”

Murphy, a junior who transferred to Pitt from a New Mexico junior college played in his first game as a Panther on Wednesday and provided a boost that Pitt desperately needed.

“That was probably the most people that I’ve played in front of since high school,” Murphy said.

Murphy played 32 minutes off the bench for head coach Jeff Capel. The junior totaled 13 points, on 3 of 6 shooting from beyond the arc. Murphy knocked down all three of those 3-pointers whenever it seemed like Pitt had desperately needed some life injected into them.

Murphy’s spark came from more than just his sweet, shooting touch. He added four rebounds and three assists. The Panthers are looking for help rebounding in any fashion possible.

Pitt’s rebounding was the Achilles’ heel for the Panthers last season, but Pitt impressed in that facet of the game against Florida State by out-rebounding the Seminoles 37-35.

“I thought (our rebounding) was the key of the game,” Capel said. “That’s something we’ve tried to work on. It was good to see us do a pretty good job, here in this game, where we out-rebounded this team.”

Nobody who played for Pitt against FSU grabbed a godly amount of rebounds, it was more of a team effort. All of preseason Capel stressed how important team rebounding would be in his teams success this season.

Capel never put the burden of rebounding on one individual person, rather than his team willing to “gang rebound.” Pitt’s gang, rebounded well enough on Wednesday in order to sneak by Florida State for the second straight year.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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