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Surging Pitt earns another big road win over Virginia on Tuesday night

Senior forward Blake Hinson scored 27 points, as the red-hot Panthers upset Virginia, 74-63, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Tuesday night.

It was the fourth-straight win for Pitt and its sixth in the past seven games.

Virginia came into the week ranked 21st in the latest AP poll, having won eight straight games. The Cavaliers also saw their 23-game home winning streak–the longest in the nation–come to an end.

Pitt improved to 16-8, overall, and 7-6 in the ACC.

Pitt’s freshmen guards again came up big, as Jaland Lowe scored 12 points, while Carlton “Bub” Carrington added nine points and eight rebounds. Speaking of guards, junior Ishmael Leggett came off the bench to score 13 points and grab eight rebounds.

The Panthers opened up a 22-15 lead midway through the first half before Virginia clamped down on defense and was able to crawl back into the game and take a brief 25-24 advantage. A similar scenario unfolded late in the first half. Pitt opened up a 30-25 advantage, and then the Cavaliers scored six unanswered points to take a 31-30 lead. The Panthers then scored the last five points of the half to grab a 35-31 lead heading into the locker room.

Pitt briefly opened up a seven-point second-half lead on a Hinson three-pointer before the Cavaliers scored nine-straight points to take a 40-38 advantage. The game remained close until the Panthers began to pull away midway through the second half.

Pitt took a 10-point lead on a Lowe jumper with 5:17 remaining and opened up its biggest lead–14 points–on a Carrington layup with 3:02 to go.

The Panthers hit on 14 of their 32 three-point tries, while Virginia could only make four of 14.

Hinson, who scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half, made five of 13 from behind the arc.

Sophomore forward Guillermo Diaz Graham came off the bench to score eight points, including six from three-point range.

It was the fifth road win in ACC play for Pitt, whose current hot streak began with an upset of Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 20.

After getting off to a 1-5 start in the ACC, the Panthers are finally over .500 in conference play and currently in fifth place.

Pitt will hope to keep its red-hot streak going vs. a struggling Louisville squad (8-17, 3-11) at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh this Saturday evening.

By winning six of seven–including back-to-back road victories over NC State and Virginia–the Panthers have certainly improved their chances of making the NCAA tournament field of 68. Pitt went into Tuesday night ranked 60th in the now all-important Net Rankings and Quad Wins category and currently sits at 53rd after the win.

With seven games plus the ACC tournament left to go, the Panthers certainly have a lot of work to do if they want to make it back to the dance for a second year in a row, but you have to respect the work they’ve done recently to put themselves into contention.


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