Pitt faced Georgia Tech at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday night favored by three points and looking to extend its winning streak to four games. But the Panthers struggled against a Yellow Jackets squad that proved to be more consistent on the court than it has been on paper, and they fell 68-62.
The Panthers would get off to a slow start, with only John Hugley finding his way to the basket in the first five minutes, and as a result, they would trail the Yellow Jackets 10-2 at the 15:00 mark. However, Ithiel Horton would stop the bleeding with a three, and that seemed to ignite the Panthers, who would pull within one of the Yellow Jackets less than four minutes later, with the score 17-16, Georgia Tech. That 14-7 run was led by Mouhamadou Gueye, who knocked down two threes and scored eight points in three minutes. And 12 minutes into the game, he would have 12 points.
Despite the solid effort from Gueye, Pitt would still trail Georgia Tech after his outburst. That would change at the 7:27 mark, when Femi Odukale hit two free throws to put Pitt ahead 22-21, giving the team its first lead of the game. However, Pitt would only stay on top for a short while, as Georgia Tech regained the lead on a Dallan Coleman three-pointer that made it 26-24 less than three minutes later. A Gueye dunk on Pitt’s next possession would tie it at 26-26, but an 11-2 run by the Yellow Jackets would leave the score at 37-28 by the time the halftime buzzer sounded.
The difference in the first half was turnovers, as Pitt had nine, while Georgia Tech had five. Georgia Tech also capitalized on those opportunities to a greater extent than Pitt, as it came up with 15 points on those giveaways, while Pitt scored just three points.
Pitt would have to play catch-up in the second half, and the team came out of the halftime break energized and committed to that cause. However, Georgia Tech would not relent, and six minutes into the final frame, the Yellow Jackets would hold a 50-37 lead after a 13-9 run. The Panthers would then go cold, compounding their issues and allowing the visitors to build up a 15-point lead.
Two minutes later, Georgia Tech’s lead had swelled to 58-41, with 8:43 left in the game, and the situation looked grim for Pitt. And with five minutes left, the Yellow Jackets would lead 63-47, thanks in part to Michael Devoe contributing six points in five minutes.
Pitt would come alive late, going on an 12-0 run to pull within four points of Georgia Tech, making it 63-59 with just over two minutes left to play. However, Devoe would hit a three to keep his team alive, and as the last few minutes ticked away, the Yellow Jackets would keep the Panthers at bay, winning 68-62.
Despite the disappointing outcome, Pitt saw impressive performances by Mouhamadou Gueye and John Hugley in the matchup, as both of them posted double-doubles. Gueye had 27 points snd 12 rebounds, while Hugley had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
With the loss, Pitt would fall too 11-17 on the season and 6-11 in ACC play. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech would improve to 11-15 overall and 4-11 in conference competition. Pitt will now shift its focus to Miami, one of the top teams in the ACC. Like the Panthers, the Hurricanes saw a three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, and they will come into the matchup not only looking to get back on track but also looking to notch their 20th win. Pitt and Miami will square off at the Petersen Events Center on Tuesday night.