PITTSBURGH – Pitt used a blistering late game shooting stretch and a key defensive switch to overcome a seven-point second half deficit en route to an 82-71 win over visiting Canisius Saturday evening at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers made 11 of their final 12 shots of the game to pull away and improve to 7-3 on the season.
Blake Hinson continued his torrid start with a fourth consecutive 20+ point scoring game. The ACC leading scorer finished with a game-high 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field (3-of-4 3FG) and 7-of-7 from the foul line. The guard tandem of Carlton Carrington (16/4/5) and Ishmael Leggett (13/5/5) combined for 29 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists.
Pitt entered the break trailing by one after an opening 20 minutes that featured eight lead changes and six ties. The Panthers shot 53.6 percent (15-of-28) in the first half, but Canisius stayed connected with a 7-of-17 (.412) effort from beyond the arc.
Hinson paced the Panthers with 13 first half points, while Guillermo Diaz Graham scored seven points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field. The Golden Griffins were led by Siem Uijtendaal who netted 13 points, including a floater with eight seconds remaining to send Canisius into the break with a 41-40 advantage.
After a cold shooting start to the second half, Pitt settled in and erased a seven-point deficit with timely shooting from three-point range and a switch to a zone press into a matchup zone defense that stymied the Canisius offense.
Canisius grabbed a 54-47 lead at the 13:15 mark on a Uijtendaal three-point play. The Panthers responded with three-pointers on consecutive possessions from Carrington, Jorge Diaz Graham, and Hinson to pull ahead.
Pitt used an 8-0 run over 1:17 stretch to grab a 68-61 lead as Leggett sandwiched a pair of threes around a Federiko Federiko finish in the lane.
Hinson scored eight of his 26 points in the final 5:54 of play and Carrington scored Pitt’s final four points of the game on tough finishes in the lane.
Pitt shot 53.4 percent from the field for the game, including a 12-of-24 effort from three-point range. The Panthers were 7-of-12 from long range in the second half, while also limiting the Golden Griffins to just a 2-of-7 (.286) from deep over the final 20 minutes of action.
Canisius falls to 6-5 on the season despite a strong effort on the road. The Golden Griffins shot 53.1 percent (26-of-49) from the field and made nine three-point field goals but were plagued by 15 turnovers. Uijtendaal led Canisius with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Tre Dinkins (15) and Frank Mitchell (12) also scored in double figures.
HINSON TOPPING 25
Hinson has now scored 25 or more points in each of the past three games, becoming the first Pitt player to accomplish that feat since prior to the 2010-11 season.
For the second consecutive game, Pitt got an outstanding effort off the bench. The Panthers scored 22 bench points with the reserves also collecting six of the team’s eight steals. Jorge Diaz Graham and Jaland Lowe each had season highs with three and two steals, respectively.
EXECUTION DOWN THE STRETCH
Pitt was 14-of-17 from the field and scored 35 points over the final 12:53 of play. The Panthers were 6-of-8 from three-point range in that stretch.
Pitt returns to action Saturday, Dec. 16 against South Carolina State in a 2 p.m. tipoff at the Petersen Events Center
Source: Matt Plizga/Pitt Athletics