Pittsburgh evens CBI series with Cougars, 57-53
Pittsburgh and Washington State will play for the College Basketball Invitational championship Friday night after the Panthers tied the series with a victory.
PITTSBURGH — Playing without senior leader and top scorer Ashton Gibbs for the first time this season, Pittsburgh still pulled even with Washington State in the College Basketball Invitational championship series.
Talib Zanna scored 14 points as Pitt defeated Washington State 57-53 Wednesday night to knot the best-of-three series. The Panthers (21-17) and Cougars (19-17) play Game 3 Friday night in Pittsburgh for the CBI title.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said he wasn't sure whether Gibbs, who has been dealing with a bad ankle all season, would be available for Friday's game.
"That ankle has been bothering him all year long," Dixon said.
Gibbs has averaged 14.6 points this season and scored seven points on 2-of-7 shooting Monday in a 67-66 loss in Pullman.
WSU is dealing with injury issues, too. Leading scorer Brock Motum has missed both games against Pitt with an ankle injury.
Washington State scored only 20 first-half points, the fewest Pitt had allowed in any half this season, and trailed by nine at the break.
Cougars junior Reggie Moore, who scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, tied the score at 49 with two free throws with 1:41 left. Lamar Patterson answered right away with a jumper, and Pitt reclaimed the lead.
After shooting 51.2 percent from the floor and 60 percent from three-point range on Monday in Pullman, the Cougars shot 43.6 percent from the floor and 4 of 13 from three-point range.
"I think we're very comfortable in our home arena, and I think that probably helped with our shooting (there)," Cougars coach Ken Bone said. "But I felt like Pittsburgh did a great job of guarding Abe (Lodwick) and guarding Patrick Simon, guys who hit some threes the other night."