Virginia surprises No. 11 Pitt, 84-80

December 04, 1990|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Correspondent

RICHMOND, Va. -- When Bryant Stith was helped to the University of Virginia bench with a little more than 8 1/2 minutes left in the first half last night, limping on a sprained right ankle, the Richmond Coliseum fell silent.

Stith's return for the second half against Pittsburgh gave the struggling Cavaliers a lift, but his 28 points -- 20 after his return -- were the main reason that 21st-ranked Virginia upset No. 11 Pitt, 84-80, in the ACC-Big East Challenge.

"When he came out for the second half, he told us he could play, and play he did," said Virginia teammate Kenny Turner. "He was a force out there."

"He made a miraculous recovery," said Panthers coach Paul Evans.

Stith scored 10 straight points to bring the Cavaliers back from a 44-40 halftime deficit to tie the game at 52. Stith scored seven straight late in the game, including a three-point play and a three-point shot, in a 13-3 run that gave Virginia a 78-71 lead with 2 minutes, 3 seconds left.

"Stith was took quick for a big kids and for [guard] Darelle Porter, he was too big," said Evans.

The victory helped Virginia (4-2) erase the memories of its previous two games, a 15-point thumping by UCLA in the final of the Great Alaska Shootout and afive-point loss at home to the University of New Orleans on Friday night. It was the first loss for the Panthers after four straight wins.

"That was a good win. We needed it," said first-year Virginia coach Jeff Jones. "That's an understatement. We kept telling our guys that this was going to be won on the boards and on getting to loose ball. The guys took it as a challenge."

Against New Orleans, the Cavaliers had been out-rebounded, 44-22. But Virginia turned the tables against the taller and broader Panthers, out-rebounding Pitt, 35-28, and, just as significantly, out-hustling its opponent to a lot of loose balls.

Stith was dominant in all areas: pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds, blocking three shots, coming up with five steals and crashing to the floor for loose balls.

"When you see Bryant busting his butt like that, it inspires you," said Turner.

Stith's reaction to his performance was typically low-key. He was more concerned with making sure the ankle healed properly for Virginia's next game than he was excited about what havoc he created.

"When I got into the game again, I was so pumped up, I just wanted to do something," said Stith.

VIRGINIA (84) -- Turner 5-13 4-4 15, Stith 11-17 5-7 28, Jeffries 2-5 0-0 4, Oliver 7-13 0-0 14, Crotty 4-12 8-10 18, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Blundin 1-1 1-1 3, Parker 1-1 0-0 2, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-62 18-22 84.

PITTSBURGH (80) -- Shorter 2-10 3-4 7, Porter 4-5 0-0 8, Martin 3-11 2-3 8, Miller 3-7 2-2 11, Matthews 6-12 10-11 24, Jordan 1-3 0-0 3, Shareef 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 2-4 2, McNeal 3-4 0-0 6, Morningstar 2-2 0-0 4, Moses 2-2 2-2 7. Totals 26-57 21-26 80.

Halftime--Pittsburgh 44, Virginia 40. 3-point goals--Virginia 4-16 (Crotty 2-7, Stith 1-3, Turner 1-5, Oliver 0-1), Pittsburgh 7-16 (Miller 3-5, Matthews 2-5, Moses 1-1, Jordan 1-3, Porter 0-1, Shareef 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Virginia 35 (Stith 12), Pittsburgh 28 (Shorter 6). Assists--Virginia 21 (Crotty 7), Pittsburgh 12 (Miller 4). Total fouls--Virginia 22, Pittsburgh 22. A--7,702.

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