Pitt comes up just short against Miami
After two-straight victories away from home–including the first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1979–the Panthers went into Miami on Saturday afternoon with a chance to complete the road trifecta.
Furthermore, Pitt was looking to inch closer to the .500 mark in the ACC after starting 1-5.
Unfortunately, the Panthers are a team that must rely an awful lot on outside shooting–not much of an inside presence–and when that goes cold, they are in trouble.
Pitt spent most of Saturday’s matchup in deep trouble and trailed the Hurricanes by as many as 16 points in the first half.
The Hurricanes went into the locker room with an 11-point lead.
It looked like it would be a long day for the Panthers after Miami opened up a 19-point lead in the second half and still held a huge advantage with less than 10 minutes remaining.
But just when it seemed like Pitt was dead and buried, it made a furious comeback and got to within two points with less than a minute remaining. Sadly, the Panthers couldn’t convert on one more shot, and the Hurricanes escaped with a 72-68 victory.
The loss drops the Panthers to 12-8 overall and 3-6 in the ACC.
Forward Blake Hinson led all scorers with 21 points but was only four of 12 from three-point range (his bread and butter). The senior was also just one of four from the free-throw line. That was a theme for the entire team, as Pitt did a great job drawing fouls and getting to the line but converted only nine of 16 freebies. The Panthers also shot an abysmal 37.5 from the field–including 30.5 percent from three-point range.
The bad news is that Pitt is near the bottom of the ACC rankings. The good news is that the Panthers still have 11 games remaining in conference play. But they’re going to have to shoot more consistently from all areas and develop a more physical presence on the inside if they’re going to finish the year on an impressive run.
Next up for the Panthers is a home date against Wake Forest this Wednesday evening at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt opened the 2023/2024 campaign with high hopes thanks to its unexpected march to an NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago. However, if the Panthers don’t soon figure things out, they’ll have to settle for a bid to the NIT Tournament (if they’re lucky). The NIT’s Final Four might be held annually at the prestigious and historic Madison Square Garden, but that’s not where most teams like to wind up–they call it the Not Important Tournament for a reason–but it might be all Pitt can hope for this spring.