Pitt remained the hottest team in the Big East Conference Monday night after the Panthers dispatched pesky Seton Hall, 56-46, at Petersen Events Center.
The No. 23 Panthers (19-5, 7-4) have won six of their past seven and played their first game in a month as a ranked team after getting back into the top 25 courtesy of their victory Saturday against No. 9 Syracuse.
Lamar Patterson scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who shot a season-low 34 percent from the field. They also received eight points and a career high 15 rebounds from freshman center Steven Adams, and 11 points from senior guard Tray Woodall.
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, whose 46 points Monday night were the fewest in a game against the Panthers.
"When shots aren't falling it does get frustrating," said Patterson, who recorded his fourth career double-double and the second this season. "We fought through some things and some adversity. Good teams need that."
Fuquan Edwin led Seton Hall with 23 points, but his ankle was injured with 7:38 remaining and he was much less effective in the final minutes of the game. When the injury occurred, Seton Hall trailed by one. The Panthers outscored the Pirates, 14-7, over the final seven minutes. In those final seven minutes after Edwin was hobbled, the Pirates were 2 for 9 from the field with three turnovers.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard refused to use Edwin's injury as an excuse, though. He said the turning point was when the Pirates missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities in that span. With Pitt leading, 44-41, Edwin missed from the line with 6:29 remaining. Then with Pitt leading, 48-43, with 3:37 to go, Tom Maayan missed a free throw.
"That kind of hurt our momentum," Willard said. "I thought that's where the game got away from us a little bit."
Seton Hall (13-10, 2-8) has lost eight of its past nine. The Pirates already were short-handed because third-leading scorer Aaron 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 a year ago against Pitt.
Without Cosby, Seton Hall could not develop a consistent offensive rhythm. The Pirates missed 12 of their first 15 shots and fell behind early. But the Panthers could not take advantage of the slow-starting Pirates. They also struggled from the field and the end result was a 24-24 tie at halftime.
"We just didn't shoot the ball well," Woodall said. "It was one of worst shooting games of the season. They did a good job of switching up their defenses throwing junk defenses at us. I have to give them credit. We were trying to figure out exactly what defense they were in. They were playing pretty good defense."
Willard's game plan was to force Pitt into taking as many 3-pointers as possible. He did not think the Pirates matched up well with the Panthers inside.
But the Panthers spoiled his game plan by refusing to take the bait. They attempted just 12 3-pointers and made five. The Panthers made the game more interesting than it had to be by missing several layups and free throws. They shot a better percentage from 3-point range than inside the arc and were 19 for 29 from the free-throw line.
"We have to work on making layups," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "We had eight missed layups in the first half."
Seton hall led, 39-38, with 9:43 remaining, but Patterson took a feed from 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 basket.
Wright was big off the bench again for the Panthers. He scored eight points, all of them in the second half when the Panthers pulled away.
"Day in and day out I try to bring energy to the table," Wright said. "My teammates do a great job of getting me the ball when I'm open."
NOTES -- Pitt's next home game (Feb. 18 vs. Notre Dame) will be the 200th game at Petersen Events Center. ... Pitt's record in the first 199 games at Petersen Events Center is 178-21. ... Pittsburgh was eliminated from contention to play host to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament from 2016-21. Consol Energy Center and the Penguins had put in a bid for the event in the summer.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter: @rayfitt1. First Published February 5, 2013 5:45 AM