Gardner’s last-second shot falls, Virginia wins ACC opener

Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_85835 Pittsburgh guard Onyebuchi Ezeakudo (31) shoots over Virginia guard Armaan Franklin (4) during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_92545 Pittsburgh guard William Jeffress (24) shoots under pressure from Virginia guard Taine Murray (10) during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_65100 Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel III reacts to a play during an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pictures_of_the_Week-Global-Photo_Gallery_88138 West Virginia forward Gabe Osabuohien (3) and Bellarmine guard Dylan Penn (13) vie for the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Morgantown, W.Va., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_49753 Pittsburgh guard Jamarius Burton (11) shoots next to Virginia guard Reece Beekman (2) during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_94592 Virginia head coach Tony Bennett talks with players in the huddle during an NCAA college basketball game against Pittsburgh in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_98536 Virginia center Francisco Caffaro (22) dunks next to Pittsburgh forward John Hugley (23) during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_94970 Pittsburgh guard Jamarius Burton (11) shoots next to Virginia forward Kadin Shedrick (21) during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Pittsburgh_Virginia_Basketball_84480 Pittsburgh forward Noah Collier (3) dunks in front of Virginia center Francisco Caffaro during an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
(1/9)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jayden Gardner scored 15 points, including a last-second putback of a missed 3-pointer that bounced home, lifting Virginia to a 57-56 win over Pitt in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams on Friday night.

In a game that saw four ties and 14 lead changes, Gardner scored the last five of the game as Virginia’s (6-3, 1-0) streak of winning ACC openers stretched to 14 — 13 in a row for coach Tony Bennett.

Pitt (2-6, 0-1) had trailed by 10 late in the first half before closing on a 6-0 run into the break, and opening the second half on a 12-4 run to lead 38-34 with 14:40 to go. It was a battle from there with neither team able to break away.

The Panthers scored 11 unanswered points to swing from seven points down to a 56-52 lead with 25 seconds left.

That’s when Gardner converted a three-point play with 9.7 seconds on the clock, pulling the Cavaliers to within 56-55. Pitt turned the ball over on a five-second violation to give Virginia a final possession.

Taine Murray missed from 3, but Gardner collared the rebound and hit a step-back jumper along the baseline that bounced three times around the iron before falling through with nine-tenths of a second left for the win.

Armaan Franklin added 10 points for Virginia but was 0 for 6 from distance as the Cavaliers made just 4 of 21 from beyond the arc.

Pitt was playing without starting guard Femi Odukale (ankle) and had already lost Nike Sibande to a season-ending knee injury.

John Hugley led the Panthers with 12 points on 2-for-11 shooting and Jamarius Burton added 11 with four assists. The Panthers were 18-of-46 shooting overall but made 8 of 16 3-pointers, one of their best games from distance this season.

Mouhamadou Gueye and Onyebuchi Ezeakudo each hit 3s in Pitt’s late run for the lead.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up