After getting smoked 87-52 to the Duke Blue Devils, the Pitt Panthers were hoping to learn from that experience and provide a better showing against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets as they welcomed them to the Petersen Events Center for a 2:00 matinee. After all, Georgia Tech seemed more beatable than nationally ranked Duke, Right?
As ESPN’s Lee Corso would put it “Not so fast, my friend.”
Apparently, the experts who predicted the Panthers to finish dead last in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), are truly proving themselves to be experts as Pitt fell Yellowjackets 69-54 in front of another sparse crowd at the Pete. Pitt is now 8-10 and 0-5 in the ACC, the only team in the conference without a victory.
F Abdoulaye Gueye led 5 Georgia Tech players in double-figures as they improved to 11-7 and 3-1 in the ACC, good for 3rd place, tied with Notre Dame. Gueve scored 16 points before fouling out. F Ben Lammers had 11 points and a game-leading 15 rebounds. As a team, they out rebounded Pitt 39-20 and had 15 assists, led by G Brandon Alston’s 5.
Like the Duke game, Pitt fell behind from the opening tip, but this time it was 13-0 before they scored their first basket on a free throw by C Terrell Brown. Then it was 21-1 before the Panthers would score their 3rd points on a layup by F Shamiel Stevenson. But eventually it was 25-5 before the Panthers woke up and put together an impressive 16-2 run that only left them trailing 29-22 with 5:14 left in the first half.
But unfortunately, that’s how close Pitt would get to the Yellowjackets the rest of the game as the visiting team then went on a run of their own which enabled to them score 13 points which gave them a 40-29 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Pitt couldn’t generate much of a spark as they watched the Yellowjackets go on a 13-9 run that had them trailing 50-39 with over 10 minutes to play. Georgia Tech remained consistent the rest of the half, while the Panthers began to fade in the sunset as they eventually added another one to the loss column.
This was probably the first time in several games that Pitt didn’t have a scorer in double figures as Stevenson and G Jared Wilson-Frame each led their team with 9 points. Stevenson also led with 5 rebounds as the Panthers continue to feel the sting from the loss of leading-rebounder Ryan Luther, who was averaging 10.5 rebounds a game. Freshman G Marcus Carr led Pitt with 5 assists.
“You spot a team 20 and it’s going to be hard to get back from that.” Pitt HC Kevin Stallings said. “It’s my responsibility to have them ready from the beginning.”
So now the Panthers should have a new goal for the 2017-18 CBB season: Get their first ACC victory as it obviously appears that they will make themselves at home in the ACC basement. Unfortunately, their next two opponents won’t make it easy for them: On January 16th, they play at Syracuse, and Saturday January 20th, they will travel to Durham, North Carolina for a rematch with the Blue Devils.
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