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Terrell Brown leads Pitt in scoring against Syracuse

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The center has been hot and cold against conference opponents this season

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt suffered a 65-56 loss to Syracuse on Saturday, but once again, there was a silver lining in terms of individual development, as sophomore center Terrell Brown showed up for the Panthers in a big way. In a positive change of pace for Pitt’s top frontcourt option, Brown led the team in scoring and was able to bypass the Orange’s zone defense to make a number plays and keep the Panthers competitive.

Brown put up a season-high 16 points in the game, including a career-high seven dunks. Several of those came on alley-oops, as Xavier Johnson and him were able to link up on multiple occasions. Their ability to circumnavigate the zone signified real progress after Pitt was largely stifled by Syracuse in the low post in the teams’ last meeting.

The 6’10” center’s performance was especially surprising for two reasons. First, Brown was coming off back-to-back zero-point games. And second, it was unclear if he would play against the Orange, as he had an illness, which he discussed after the game.

”During the Clemson game, I was sick and was only able to play a few minutes,” he said during a postgame interview on Saturday. “When we got back, I had a fever and was unable to practice for two days. [Friday] was my first practice back, and I felt good. I had a cough, but during the game, it didn’t effect me.”

Brown’s development is a positive sign for the Panthers, who are otherwise lacking in the frontcourt and looking to add talent via the 2019 recruiting class. On that front, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel and his staff recently missed out on 6’10” center Qudus Wahab, a four-star recruit who committed to Georgetown on Jan. 30. Wahab was the latest in a long line of 2019 frontcourt bigs to pass on Pitt, as Akok Akok, Tyrese Samuel, Oscar Tshiebwe and Anthony Walker all opted to head elsewhere.

Given those developments, Pitt may need Brown to replicate his Saturday showcase on a more consistent basis next season. But he may get help in the form of 6’8” frontcourt standout Karim Coulibaly, who holds a four-star rating from ESPN. The Scotland, Pennsylvania, star took an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh for the Syracuse game and is said to be interested in Pitt and St. Joseph’s in particular.

Brown will take the court with the Panthers again on Tuesday night, as Pitt is set to face Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN U.