CINCINNATI – Ashton Gibbs scored 19 points and Gilbert Brown added a career-high 17 points to lead No. 23 Pitt past Cincinnati, 74-71, on Monday night at Fifth Third Arena.
Pitt (13-2, 3-0) moved into sole possession of first place in the early-season Big East standings.
Deonte Vaughn (17), Yancy Gates (16) and Lance Stephenson (15) all scored in double figures for Cincinnati (10-4, 2-1).
Two days after an 82-72 victory over then No. 5-Syracuse moved Pitt into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season, the Panthers led for most of the game and withstood numerous Bearcat rallies.
Cincinnati (10-4, 2-1) had one final chance to tie the game after Ashton Gibbs missed a free throw – ending his consecutive free throw streak at 46 – with 2.9 seconds to play, but Larry Davis missed badly on a 3-pointer from just inside the half-court line
Pitt led 38-32 at halftime, but Cincinnati opened the second half with an 8-2 to the score at 40-40 on Steve Toyloy’s layup. The Bearcats got five straight points from Vaughn, before Travon Woodall’s steal and layup put Pitt ahead 48-45.
Brown, who missed the first 11 games with an academic suspension, scored nine points in a row for Pitt during a pivotal second-half that kept the Panthers ahead.
Cincinnati scored only two baskets during a 7:18 span late in second half.
– By John Grupp