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Murphy, Va. Tech build 28-point lead, hold off Pitt 76-71

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Storm Murphy scored 10 of his 20 points in the final 8 minutes and Justyn Mutts added 16 to help Virginia Tech, which blew most of a 28-point second-half lead, hold off Pittsburgh for a 76-71 win on Saturday night.

Nahiem Alleyne added 14 points for Virginia Tech (13-10, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Hunter Cattoor hit a 3-pointer to give the Hokies a 52-24 lead - their biggest of the game - about 30 seconds into the second half, but Pitt (8-15, 3-9) scored 15 of the next 18 points and later used another 15-3 run to trim its deficit to six when Jamarius Burton made to free throws with 8:22 to play. Murphy answered with a 3 just 29 seconds later and added to layups before he hit 1 of 2 free throws to push the lead back into double figures with 46 seconds left.

Onyebuchi Ezeakudo hit a quick 3-pointer and after Alleyne missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Femi Odukale made another and then hit two free throws to make it 74-71 with 8 seconds to play. Storm made two foul shots to cap the scoring.

Odukale scored 22 of his 25 points in the second half and Burton finished with 21 - including 14 after halftime - for Pitt. Mouhamadou Gueye added 13 points.

The Hokies never trailed, scoring 10 straight points to take a 16-4 lead about 8 minutes in and used a 14-1 run to take a 27-point lead into the break. Seven different players made at least one of Virginia Tech's 10 first-half 3-pointers - including three by Alleyne. Virginia Tech shot 75% (18 of 24) from the field in the first 20 minutes, setting a program record for a half against an ACC opponent.

Odukale hit 4 of 5 from behind the arc, and he and Burton combined to make 13 of 15 from the field as the Panthers shot 70.8% (17 of 24) in the second half. Pitt scored 20 points off 10 Virginia Tech turnovers after halftime.

The teams play again Monday in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Updated February 5, 2022

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