Pitt headed down to Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg on Monday night to take on Virginia Tech after falling to the same team 76-71 in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they once again got off to a languid start and once again dug a hole for themselves that they could not climb out of. And once again, the Panthers fell to the Hokies — this time by a score of 74-47.
The night got off to a promising start for the Panthers, as the Hokies opened up the game with a five-minute scoring drought. During that span, Virginia Tech looked rusty and unequal to the task of taking down Pitt, much like it did in the second half of Saturday’s game. However, the Panthers did not take advantage of the head start provided to them by the Hokies, as they only managed to accrue a 5-0 lead.
The Hokies would come storming back, responding to the Panthers’ 5-0 run with a 16-0 run of their own. That run would coincide with a Pitt scoring drought that eclipsed six minutes and was brought to an end by a Mouhamadou Gueye three that made it 16-8, Virginia Tech.
Problematically for Pitt, the team would only manage nine more points in the half, while Virginia Tech added 19 more before the break, closing out the half with a 35-17 advantage. Gueye would also be Pitt’s only notable contributor in the opening half, as he accounted for 12 of the team’s 17 points.
Pitt’s response to the first-half drubbing on Monday night would differ significantly with its response to the same situation on Saturday night, as the team allowed Virginia Tech to go on an 11-4 run over the first five minutes of the final frame. That would leave Pitt with a 25-point hole to dig itself out of, and after a 10-7 run, that would be down to 22 points by the midway point of the second half, with the score 53-31. But with Pitt making slow work of coming back and failing to stifle Virginia Tech in the process, the game got out of hand.
Moments later, the Panthers would find themselves trailing 60-37 with only eight minutes left on the clock after a three by Femi Odukale, who was more of a factor in the second half, with 12 points in 12 minutes. Unfortunately for Pitt, just as Odukale awakened, Gueye’s production subsided, and Pitt found its offense was once again a one-man show, with Odukale scoring 12 of the team’s first 20 points in the final frame.
With four minutes left to play, the Hokies would hold a commanding 64-42 lead, and the final few minutes of the game would see the Panthers struggle and ultimately fail to pull within 20 points of the hosts. And when all was said and done, the Panthers had suffered a humiliating 74-47 defeat in Blacksburg.
Femi Odukale finished as Pitt’s top scorer for the third straight game, as he had 16 points. Mouhamadou Gueye finished as a close second, with 15. And the only other Pitt player to exceed four points in the matchup was William Jeffress, who matched a personal best in ACC play, with eight. Jamarius Burton was notably held scoreless in the game, snapping a 16-game double-figure scoring streak. And Pitt’s top scorer John Hugley was held to two points for the second game in a row.
With the loss, the Panthers fell to 8-16 the season and 3-10 in conference competition. Meanwhile, the Hokies improved to 14-10 overall and 6-7 in ACC play. The loss was Pitt’s fourth in a row as well as its sixth in its last seven games. Now, Pitt will shift its focus to Florida State, which it will face Wednesday night in Tallahassee. Florida State is one of few teams in as poor shape as Pitt at the moment, as it is also in a four-game skid.