Pitt's victory over Wildcats Taylor-made No. 23 Panthers slip past Villanova in OT, 73-64 ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dante Taylor spent four years at Pittsburgh trying to live up to sky-high expectations.
The former McDonald's All-American slogged through lengthy stretches of mediocre play, his production never quite matching the 6-foot-10 center's massive promise.
Still, the player coach Jamie Dixon called "the best teammate we've ever had" found a way to provide an exclamation point to both his career and his team's final home game as a member of the Big East.
Taylor's emphatic breakaway dunk in the final seconds of overtime closed out a 73-64 comeback victory over Villanova and gave Taylor and best friend Tray Woodall an emotional sendoff on Senior Day.
"It was the best way to end it," said Taylor, who had seven points and six rebounds in his first start in more than a year.
Perhaps it was the only way for the 23rd-ranked Panthers to wrap up 31 seasons in one of the nation's toughest conferences.
Pitt (23-7, 11-6 Big East) trailed by nine in the second half before tying it late in regulation and controlling the extra session to put a dent in Villanova's NCAA tournament chances.
"You knew it was going to be like this," Dixon said. "You knew it was going to come down to a couple possessions. That's what it's been every time we played (Villanova)."
Though Taylor and Woodall (13 points, 11 assists) provided an emotional lift it was the play of Talib Zanna and youngsters Durand Johnson and James Robinson that propelled Pitt to its third straight victory. Former McCaskey standout Lamar Patterson contributed eight points.
Talib Zanna scored nine of his 14 points in overtime and added a career-high 19 rebounds. Johnson knocked down three 3-pointers to help Pitt claw back and Robinson -- who hadn't made a 3-pointer in weeks -- hit two big ones.
The first tied the game at 57 with 33 seconds left in regulation and the second gave Pitt a five-point cushion with 30 seconds remaining in the extra period.
Ryan Arcidiacono led Villanova with 23 points but the Wildcats (18-12, 9-8) let an opportunity to pad their NCAA tournament resume slip away. Mouphtaou Yarou added 14 points and eight rebounds and JayVaughn Pinkston chipped in 13 but Villanova has now dropped two straight at perhaps the most important time of year.
Michigan 58, Michigan State 57: Trey Burke stole the ball from Keith Appling near midcourt and went in alone for a dunk with 22 seconds remaining, then made another steal in the final seconds to give the No. 4 Wolverines a pulsating win over the No. 9 Spartans.
Michigan State (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten) had the ball with the shot clock off at 56-all, but Burke's first big defensive play enabled Michigan (24-5, 11-5) to take the lead. After Derrick Nix made one of two free throws and Mitch McGary missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for Michigan, Burke stole a pass by Gary Harris to end it.
The Michigan State loss clinches at least a share of the Big Ten title for Indiana.
Purdue 69, Wisconsin 56: D.J. Byrd scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and Terone Johnson added 16 points for the Boilermakers (14-15, 7-9 Big Ten), who had lost three straight road games and four of five overall before upending the 17th-ranked Badgers.
Purdue took control with a 21-3 run in the second half during which Byrd had nine points and Johnson eight.
Jared Berggren scored 13 points and Ryan Evans and Sam Dekker had 10 apiece for Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5), which had won six of its previous seven.
North Carolina 79, Florida State 58: James Michael McAdoo scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half and sparked the run that gave the Tar Heels (21-8, 11-5 ACC) the big lead en route to the easy victory over the Seminoles (15-14, 7-9).
Boston College 53, Virginia 52: Joe Rahon scored 15 points, hitting the game-winning 3-pointer as he was fouled with 8.2 seconds left, to lead the Eagles (13-16, 5-11 ACC) past the Cavaliers (20-9, 10-6).
Washington 72, Washington State 68: Scott Suggs hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 4 minutes remaining and finished with 23 points as the Huskies (16-13, 8-8 Pac-12) handed the Cougars (11-18, 2-14) their ninth straight loss.
Stanford 84, Utah 66: Chasson Randle scored 22 points and matched his career high with six assists, and the Cardinal (17-13, 8-9 Pac-12) snapped their longest losing streak at home this season by beating the Utes (11-17, 3-13).