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Pitt topped by Boston College 69-56 in Chestnut Hill

Pitt headed up to Chestnut Hill on Sunday to take on Boston College at Conte Forum in a rematch of a Jan. 8 game in which the Panthers defeated the Eagles 69-67. This time around, Pitt had more to contend with, as the game was delayed a day due to a blizzard that hit the Boston area and the team was missing Pitt head coach Jeff Capel and Pitt assistant coach Jason Capel, who did not travel with the team due to COVID-19 protocols. Despite those issues, the Panthers still put up a fight, but they fell to the Eagles 69-56.

The Panthers came out strong in the first half, riding a 9-0 run to a 13-5 lead after falling behind 5-4 early. Femi Odukale led the way during that early show of dominance, with five points on a layup and a three-pointer. But Mouhamadou Gueye had the most outstanding play of that run, as he swatted a three-point shot attempt by T.J. Bickerstaff, ran down the ball and came up with an emphatic dunk.

However, Gianni Thompson stopped the bleeding for the Eagles with a layup, and that proved to be the first bucket in a 9-1 Boston College run that left Pitt trailing 16-14. Ithiel Horton would then make a layup, a steal and a jumper to regain the lead for Pitt, making it 18-16 with just over 10 minutes left in the opening half. The two sides would put on a more even performance after that. But after a pair of made free throws by Odukale that made it 24-22 with the Eagles in front, Boston College finished the half on a 7-0 run and entered the halftime break with a 31-22 advantage.

Pitt’s nine-point halftime deficit was brought on in large part by the team’s struggles from the field, which saw the Panthers fail to make a basket for the final 10 minutes of the opening half. They were also unable to stop DeMarr Langford, who led all scorers in the first half, with 13 points. Pitt’s best answer to him was Odukale, who led the Panthers with eight.

In the second half, Pitt got the ball rolling, scoring four quick points to make it 31-26. However, the Panthers then allowed the Eagles to go on an 11-0 run capped off by a Jaeden Zackery triple that made it 42-26. Once again, it would be Horton who ended the Boston College run, much like he did in the first half. This time, it would be with a three-point shot, but the Panthers would face a more dire situation after that made shot than they did in the first half, as they found themselves down 13 points and struggling to get in a rhythm.

Boston College would then go on in 8-0 run to make it 50-29, and by the midway point of the final half, the Eagles would lead the Panthers 52-32. Pittsburgh would fail to get a handle on the game as the minutes continue to tick off the clock, and with five minutes remaining, the Panthers trailed the Eagles 59-46. Pitt got its 46th point on a three by Gueye, but that proved to be one of the few impressive plays Pitt had left. In the end, Boston College won 69-56.

With the loss, Pitt fell to 8-13 on the season and 3-7 in conference play. Meanwhile, Boston College improved to 9-11 overall and 4-6 in ACC competition. Pitt faces a tough road ahead, as it will travel to Winston-Salem to face a 17-5 Wake Forest team that ranks fifth in the ACC. That game will tip off from the Tar Heel State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.