NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19: J'Covan Brown #14 of the Texas Longhorns shoots over defenders from the Pittsburgh Panthers during the Championship game of the 2k Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 19 2010 in New York New York. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Longhorns Come Up Short Against No. 5 Pittsburgh, Lose 68-66

The Texas Longhorns will take on the fifth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

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Texas Vs. Pittsburgh: Longhorns Come Up Short, Panthers Win 68-66

(Sports Network) – Ashton Gibbs led a second-half charge and ended with 24 points — 19 in the final 20 minutes — as fifth-ranked Pittsburgh held on for a 68-66 victory over Texas to win the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

The Panthers (5-0) had a chance to seal the game with Travon Woodall at the free throw line for a 1-and-1 with 12.1 seconds left and leading by two. However, he missed the front end, giving Texas a chance to tie or win the game.

Cory Joseph sprinted up the court and tried to drive to the right side. He was unable to get any penetration and threw up a hopeless hook shot toward the basket. The ball never reached the rim, and Pitt’s Nasir Robinson grabbed the rebound with just seconds remaining and quickly threw an outlet pass to drain the rest of the clock for the win.

Brad Wanamaker and Robinson both finished with nine points for Pitt, which is 5-0 for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons.

Jordan Hamilton scored 28 to lead the Longhorns (3-1), who were looking to win their second straight game against a ranked opponent after topping 13th-ranked Illinois on Thursday. J’Covan Brown contributed 14 points in defeat.

Pittsburgh led, 31-28, after a tightly contested first half and scored the first six points of the second half, grabbing a 37-28 lead on a Wanamaker layup.

Texas responded with a 10-2 run to climb to within 39-38 on a Brown jumper and three-pointer with 15 minutes to play. The back-and-forth affair continued, as Pitt answered with a 10-2 run — all 10 points were scored by Gibbs, whose three-pointer pushed the advantage back to nine, 49-40, with just under 13 minutes left.

Hamilton followed with back-to-back threes, and a Brown free throw had Texas within 49-47, but Pittsburgh scored eight straight points. A Wanamaker dunk and three-pointer pushed the margin to 57-47 with a bit over eight minutes to go.

Seven consecutive points from Texas had the Longhorns within three on Gary Johnson’s jumper with six minutes left, and an 8-2 rally — the last five points from Hamilton — cut Pitt’s lead to 63-62 with 2 1/2 minutes left.

Game Notes

Pittsburgh leads the all-time series, 2-1, beating Texas for the first time since 1991…The Panthers scored 26 points off 17 Texas turnovers, while the Longhorns registered just 13 points off 11 Pitt miscues…Pittsburgh is the second straight Big East team to win this tournament after Syracuse beat North Carolina last year.

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Texas Longhorns Vs. Pittsburgh Panthers: Longhorns Battle Fifth-Ranked Panthers

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Pittsburgh 3-0, Texas 2-0. Away Record: Pittsburgh 0-0, Texas 0-0. Neutral Record: Pittsburgh 1-0, Texas 1-0. Conference Record: Pittsburgh 0-0, Texas 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.

GAME NOTES: The fifth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers and Texas Longhorns will meet up this evening at Madison Square Garden in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

Jamie Dixon's Panthers navigated their way through the semifinal round with a 79-70 victory over a tough Maryland squad. With the win, Pittsburgh moved to 4-0 on the young season.

Rick Barnes' Longhorns are short on veteran leadership but long on talent. The team proved that last night, upsetting 13th-ranked Illinois in semifinal action, 90-84 in overtime. With the win, Texas moved to 3-0 on the season after a pair of lopsided victories in Austin.

The all-time series between Pitt and Texas is knotted at 1-1.

It was a back-and-forth battle, with Maryland responding after Pittsburgh would make a run, but in the end, the Panthers wore down the Terrapins and earned a tough nine-point victory to move into the title game. Talib Zanna led the Panthers down low with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Guard Ashton Gibbs helped out with 13 points and seven boards, while Gilbert Brown (11 pts, seven rebs), Travon Woodall (11 pts, five assts) and Brad Wanamaker (10 pts) got involved as well. It was a bit of a sloppy effort for Pitt, as the team turned the ball over 16 times, but the Panthers were able to get to the free-throw line an impressive 37 times in the game and outscored the Terrapins from the charity stripe, 26-14.

Freshman forward Tristan Thompson was huge in the paint for the Longhorns, as he finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots, leading Texas into the championship round this evening. Sophomore Jordan Hamilton was equally impressive, with 25 points and seven boards, followed by Gary Johnson's 16 points and seven caroms. It was a nip-and-tuck game all the way through, with Texas finally being able to distance itself in the extra session. Texas shot a pedestrian .449 from the floor in the game, but held Illinois to a worse .384 effort. The 6-7 Hamilton is a rising star in the Big 12 and comes into the title game averaging a gaudy 23.3 ppg. Thompson has made an immediate impact as the 6-8 youngster is netting 16.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per outing. Johnson gives the team yet another option in the frontcourt at 16.0 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per outing.

The Panthers are a well-rounded team with depth both up front and in the backcourt. Their veteran leadership may just win out over the younger Longhorns. Although that thinking didn't ring true in yesterday's semifinals.

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