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After slow start, Pitt basketball getting back on track

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pitt men's basketball team still has a lot of work to do, but the team is rebounding a little from their slow start.

The Panthers (9-3) began the season 4-3 after dropping games to Hawaii, San Diego State, and Indiana. Since that loss to the Hoosiers, though, as part of the B1G-ACC Challenge, Pitt has rebounded to win five straight games.

Those wins haven't all been easy ones. The Panthers won by only four against St. Bonaventure and they needed a furious rally and overtime to defeat Oakland. The fact remains, however, that the team is winning.

An obvious reason for the turnaround is that the competition hasn't been nearly as fierce. And, really, you can argue that the team still isn't playing all that well. Still, the Panthers have done some good things in this five-game streak. Pitt won the City Game comfortably, despite Duquesne always gearing up to try to pull off the upset. The Panthers also blew out Holy Cross in their last game, keeping the Crusaders below 40 points and winning that game by 19.

Pitt is also getting Cam Wright back into the mix since his return from injury. After playing sparingly against Duquesne and scoring only one point in 21 minutes against St. Bonaventure, Wright has averaged just over 12 points per game in his last three contests while shooting better than 50% from the field. Wright is also averaging two steals per game over his last four.

The Panthers will be tested soon, so it's a good thing the team has added some more wins. On Tuesday, Pitt will face 9-3 Florida Gulf Coast (a team that beat UMass) in their final non-conference game. The Panthers will then begin ACC play with two consecutive road games at 10-3 North Carolina State and then Boston College.

The past five games have been a little bumpy, but a 5-0 record has made the team's inconsistent play a little easier to swallow.

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