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Xavier Johnson Leads Pitt to Last-Minute Win over Kansas State

Xavier Johnson Leads Pitt to Last-Minute Win over Kansas State

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Throughout much of its game against Kansas State in the RocketMortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off on Monday, Pitt struggled shooting from outside and turned the ball over a too frequently against a ball-hungry Wildcats defense.

Point guard Xavier Johnson was at the forefront of the latter issue, turning the ball over eight times in the second half.

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But when Pitt needed him most, Johnson came through.

The sophomore guard drove and put an off-balance shot attempt off the glass and in with 10 seconds to play to give Pitt the lead, then drew an offensive foul and made a pair of free throws to nearly singlehandedly swing the game in favor of the Panthers for a 63-59 victory.

Johnson finished with 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting and had six rebounds, fouling out in the final moments of the game. He finished with just one assist combined to eight turnovers.

The Panthers finished 1 of 16 from beyond the 3-point arc, but got significant contributions on the interior.

Eric Hamilton and Terrell Brown played alongside one another in the post for the first extended run on the season, and Hamilton built on his strong game against Arkansas Pine-Bluff last week. He scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Pitt in both categories, his first double-double with the Panthers. Brown had eight points.

After being hobbled early by an ankle injury, Justin Champagnie finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

The Panthers will await the winner of Northwestern and Bradley in Wednesday’s final.


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Kelby Haskins
Kelby Haskins

Sorry, but this title gives Johnson way too much credit. There were times I thought he was actually trying to lose the game.


Both Johnson and McGowens were overmatched by the Kansas State guards and probably helped seal the win by fouling out. Their collective egos got in the way of their responsibilities.

Richard Johnson

These guys were not over matched,actually the are better. Johnson and McGowens need to slow down and trust their teammates more. Both need to learn everything does not have to be full throttle when they have the ball. They must learn there are times to lead and times to facilitate, they will be fine. As I said before X is not a true point guard in the traditional sense, he is more athlete than point guard that is why you see the turnovers. Their biggest problem is not talent but maturity and handling the responsibilities of being the leaders of… Read more »

Clark Martineau

Only outmatched in three point shooting. If they could just relax and pick their spots to go turbo, they’d score more and have less turnovers.

Richard Johnson


Clark Martineau

The announcers were baffled at how X was able to get into the defender and then lay back and bank it in.
Man that is his and McGowen’s patented move. I’m surprised when he misses on that.

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