Pitt remained the hottest team in the Big East Conference Monday night when the No. 23 Panthers dispatched pesky Seton Hall, 56-46, at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt (19-5, 7-4) has won six of its past seven. The Panthers played their first game as a ranked team in a month after getting back into the top 25, courtesy of their victory against No. 9 Syracuse Saturday.
Lamar Patterson led the Panthers with 12 points. Fuquan Edwin led Seton Hall with 23 points.
The Panthers trailed with 9:43 remaining, but they used a late rally to wear down the visiting Pirates, who played without third-leading scorer Aaron Cosby.
It was the final scheduled game between the two schools because Pitt is exiting the Big East after the season and entering the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Panthers finished with a 32-21 record against the Pirates.
Seton Hall (13-10, 2-8) has lost eight of its past nine. Cosby missed the game for personal reasons. He averages 11.6 points per game and is one of Seton Hall's top outside shooters. He scored 19 points in Seton Hall's victory against Pitt last season.
Without Cosby in the lineup, Seton Hall, already among the lowest scoring teams in the conference, could not develop a consistent offensive rhythm. The Pirates missed 12 of their first 15 shots and fell behind early. The Panthers could not take advantage of the slow-starting Pirates, however. They also struggled from the field and the end result was a 24-24 tie at halftime.
A 7-0 run by Pitt, capped by a J.J. Moore 3-pointer gave the Panthers a 35-28 lead with 14:32 remaining. It appeared the Panthers were going to pull away, but Seton Hall answered with an 11-3 run to take a 39-38 lead.
Lamar Patterson took a feed from Steven Adams and made a layup to give the Panthers the lead again. It was the start of a 9-2 run for the Panthers, who went up 48-41 after Cameron Wright scored four consecutive points, the final two coming on free throws after getting fouled going to the hoop.
Seton Hall caught a bad break late in the game. Edwin went down with an ankle injury with 7:38 left. He came back in the game a minute later but was much less effective. Without an offensive threat, the Pirates wilted down the stretch, and the Panthers were able to close the game out from the free-throw line.
The Panthers got up 10-3 in the early stages of the contest, but that seven-point lead was the biggest of the half. Seton Hall slowly chipped away and went ahead three times in the final four minutes before the Panthers tied the score on their ensuing possession each time.
Fuquan Edwin got Seton hall on track late in the half. He made two 3-pointers in the final 2:40 of the half. After the first, Durand Johnson answered with a 3-pointer. After his second, Steven Adams converted a 3-point play with 1:24 left before halftime.
Edwin led the Pirates with 12 points in the first half. No one else on Seton hall had more than one basket. Patterson led the Panthers with eight.
Pitt shot 32 percent in the first half while Seton Hall shot 30 percent.
Notes: Pitt's next home game (Feb. 18 vs. Notre Dame) will be the 200th game at the Petersen Events Center. ... Pitt's record in the first 199 games at the Petersen Events Center is 178-21. ... Pittsburgh was eliminated from contention to host the ACC tournament from 2016-21. Consol Energy Center and the Penguins had put in a bid to play host to the event last summer.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published February 5, 2013 4:15 AM