Pitt faced Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday night looking to bounce back from a tough 66-61 loss to Virginia on Wednesday. However, the Panthers proved unequal to the task of taking down the Tigers, and they were dealt a disheartening 75-48 defeat.
The opening half saw streaky performances by both teams, as Clemson, led by P.J. Hall, shot out to an early 12-5 lead less than five minutes into the game, and four minutes later, Pitt had nearly evened the score, making it 15-14. However, both teams stagnated after that, and at the midway point of the half, the score was 17-16, with the Panthers trailing the Tigers.
Clemson would begin to pull away as the half wore on, as mistakes piled up for Pitt and the shots began to fall more easily for the home team. Chase Hunter, David Collins and Al-Amir Dawes were particularly hard for Pitt to stop, as Hunter and Collins complemented Hall’s team-high 10 points with eight of their own in the first half and Dawes contributed six on two threes.
Jamarius Burton countered Hall’s performance with 10 points of his own, but the only other Pitt player to post a notable first half was John Hugley, who had seven points after a made three-point shot was waved off by the ACC officiating crew controversially. And with few others able to contribute, Pitt found itself trailing Clemson 38-27 at the half.
The shots would continue to fall for the Tigers early in the second half, and just four minutes in to the final frame, they would lead the Panthers 46-36, with Hunter Tyson leading the way. With Tyson and Hall continuing to pad Clemson’s lead and a languid Pitt team unable to get anything done on offense, the Tigers would lead the Panthers 56-38 with eight minutes left to play. And yes, for those doing the math at home, Pitt was only able to manage two points in eight minutes.
Pitt’s issues would be compounded 34 seconds later, as Burton fouled out with 7:26 left to play, depriving Pitt of one of its top two scorers. Gueye would then be whistled for his fourth foul 20 seconds later, as things continued to spiral out of control for Pitt. And after Collins drained two free throws for Clemson, the score would be 62-41, with Pitt down 21 points late. The Panthers would not recover, and once the final seconds had mercifully ticked away, Clemson had won decisively, 75-48.
Once again, John Hugley led the Panthers in scoring in rebounding, with 15 points and eight rebounds, and once again, he was largely failed by his supporting cast, as only Jamarius Burton and Femi Odukale contributed double-figure point totals in the losing effort. And the result, was another predictable loss.
With the loss, Pitt fell to 7-12 on the season an 2-6 in conference play. Meanwhile, Clemson improved to 11-8 overall and 3-5 in ACC play. Pitt will now head back home, where it will prepare to face Syracuse on Tuesday night. That game will tip off at 8 p.m.