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Justin Champagnie caps off 20-point, 20-rebound night with game-winning dunk

The Brooklyn native's 20-20 game was the first posted by a Pitt player in 11 years

ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Pitt came up with one of the unlikeliest of wins on Wednesday night, as the team defeated Northwestern 71-70 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge after trailing for 39 minutes and 54 seconds of the 40-minute game. That was the longest Pitt had ever trailed a team before pulling out a victory in program history, and the win came thanks in large part to sophomore star Justin Champagnie, who posted an impressive 20-point, 20-rebound double-double, which he capped off with a go-ahead dunk with 5.6 seconds left in regulation.

Champagnie’s late dunk provided the Panthers with their first lead of the game, as the team struggled offensively early on and then found its form in the second half only to see Northwestern step up its play. And although Northwestern shooting guard Chase Audige hoisted up a last-second shot, it fell several feet short of the rim, and Champagnie’s late slam gave Pitt a stunning comeback win.

“Obviously, Justin was spectacular,” Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said during his postgame press conference. “The last time I actually coached a guy that’s had a 20 and 20 game, [it was a player] by the name of Blake Griffin. So Justin was tremendous with what he did rebounding the basketball and then finishing.”

The Brooklyn native’s 20-20 game was the first such game Pitt had seen since Feb. 16, 2009, when DeJuan Blair came up with 22 points and 23 rebounds in a 76-68 win over UConn. It was also the first 20-20 performance among major conference players in regulation since Ben Simmons of LSU scored 21 points with 20 rebounds against Marquette on Nov. 23, 2015. And the only other players with similar performances in the last 25 years were Kevin Durant of Texas on Jan. 31, 2007, and Tim Duncan of Wake Forest on Feb. 22, 1997.

Champagnie has been overlooked by the ACC and others since his arrival in Pittsburgh last season, as he was snubbed for ACC All-Freshman Team honors after the 2019-20 season. That snub occurred despite the fact that he averaged 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. This year, it seems Champagnie will be harder to ignore, as he has come up with 18.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game through Pitt’s first four games of the season and looks only to have improved.