Luke Loewe scored his only points of the game on a putback with 2.4 seconds left Tuesday as Minnesota remained undefeated with a 54-53 road win over Pitt in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The Golden Gophers (6-0) trailed by one with 7.5 seconds left, when E.J. Stephens drove and had his layup bounce off the rim. But the 6-4 Loewe came crashing in from the left wing and scored on a putback in mid-air to win the game.
Femi Odukale's heave misfired at the buzzer, dropping Pitt to 2-5 on the young season.
John Hugley scored 25 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for the Panthers. No other player on the team scored more than six points.
Jamison Battle (16 points) and Payton Willis (15) led the way for the Gophers. Loewe had been 0-of-4 from the field before converting the decisive hoop.
Stephens hit a trey with 5:48 remaining to put Minnesota ahead 47-46, but the Golden Gophers didn't make another basket from the field for more than five minutes. Pitt only made one bucket during that stretch -- a stepback jumper by Mouhamadou Gueye -- but the Panthers still managed to hold a 53-50 lead after Odukale's two foul shots with 2:56 to play.
Neither team scored thereafter until Willis' layup sliced Minnesota's deficit to one with 30 seconds left.
Pitt's Jamarius Burton missed a jumper on the other end, giving the Gophers one last chance.
Hugley did the heavy lifting for Pitt in the first half, scoring 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The other four starters for the Panthers combined to shoot 1 of 12 from the field, totaling two first-half points. Hugley's 3-pointer beat the halftime buzzer to send Pitt into the locker room with a 24-22 edge.
Odukale's jumper created a 42-34 advantage for the hosts with about 10 minutes left. However, Minnesota answered when Battle scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, to forge a 42-42 tie.