PITTSBURGH- A late Clemson run handed the Pittsburgh Panthers their first loss of the ACC conference slate by a final score of 75-74.
Jamarius Burton had another outstanding game for the Panthers, finishing with 28 PTS, 6 REB, and 4 AST on the night. Blake Hinson would add 14 on an uncharacteristically poor shooting night, going 4-11 from the field, not including a costly 3-7 from the free throw line. Hinson would foul out in the last few minutes.
Clemson was led in scoring by Chase Hunter with 17, while Hunter Tyson added 15 points and 10 rebounds. With this win, Clemson now sits alone atop the ACC standings, the only undefeated team left in the conference.
FIRST HALF RECAP:
Both teams were feeling it early in this one. Pitt missed their first three FG attempts, but after feeling out the Clemson defense a little more followed up a cold streak with a hot one of equal value. Blake Hinson was out of the gates early, dropping five points before the first media timeout.
Clemson sustained their shooting success longer than the Panthers did. The Tigers continued to find dump-off passes into the paint and took advantage of mismatches they created on well-set screens. While the Tigers went on a 5-5 FG stretch, the Panthers got cold again, going 0-4 from the field, allowing Clemson to open up a 16-8 lead.
Despite shooting a conference-best 39% from three, Clemson did most of their damage in the paint early. Of their first 25 points, 14 came in the paint. The Panthers couldn’t answer, settling for choppy possessions and questionable shot choices, going 6-20 from the field to start the night.
Jamarius Burton was the bright spot of the first half, adding 14 to the score sheet for Pitt. The former national player of the week showed shades of the type of dominance he put on display against UNC, going 4-7 from the field, and 3-5 from three.
The importance of good free throw shooting was on display throughout the half as both teams quickly found themselves in foul trouble, but it was Pitt who would take full advantage, shooting 12-14 from the line while Clemson only mustered a 7-12 effort.
Nate Santos and Guillermo Diaz Graham each played a bigger part in the first half than usual with Blake Hinson and Federiko Federiko each picking up two fouls early. Santos had two points and three rebounds, but his lone bucket came at the buzzer, sending the Panthers into the break ahead 40-38.
G. Diaz Graham struggled early in the game when it came to limiting Clemson F PJ Hall (7 pts, 6 rebs) but became more comfortable handling pressure down low as the half went on.
SECOND HALF RECAP:
A Greg Elliott corner three got the crowd on their feet early in the second half. From there, the Panthers would play solid defense but find themselves unable to recapture that rhythm that brought them back from a 10-point deficit in the first half.
A Ben Middlebrooks and-one would tie the contest at 47 before both teams would trade buckets, including a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock for Blake Hinson that snapped him out of a bit of a cold streak.
Despite going 3-9 in the first half from three, Clemson quickly added three more in the first few minutes of the second half, proof positive of a multi-faceted offense that had the capabilities to hurt Pitt both in the paint as well as from deep.
By the 10:00 minute mark in the second half, Jamarius Burton had found himself crossing the 20-point threshold, and with Hinson sitting in foul trouble the offense became Burton-centered.
After Federiko Federiko picked up his fourth foul with eight minutes left in the contest, Jeff Capel’s hand was forced and out rolled the smallest Pitt lineup of the year, playing Blake Hinson at the five spot.
From 13:11 to 5:21 Clemson was unable to muster a single made field goal. Pitt took advantage, mostly from the free throw line, to open up their lead to as much as eight (67-59)
Clemson would rally back, and with three minutes to go Pitt held on for dear life with a dwindling lead. The Tigers regained the lead at 71-69 on the back of a 12-2 run, and Pitt needed someone to step up in the final minute and a half.
Jamarius Burton answered the call once, scoring to tie it on a floater. The Panthers were unable to answer again and were forced to foul with seconds remaining. a Nike Sibande corner three would cut the deficit to one, but with 1.1 left on the clock all Clemson had to do was inbound the ball successfully, which they did.
Pitt falls to 11-5 on the year and 4-1 in the ACC with a 74-75 loss.
Fought 'til the end.— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) January 7, 2023
Back at Duke Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/XGRo42cAo1
WHAT IS NEXT:
Pitt takes a trip to Durham for a matchup with Duke this Wednesday (1/11) at 7 PM ET.