Panthers Fall in Tightly Contested Road Battle at Clemson

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Pitt Head Coach Jeff Capel. Photo Credit Vince Butts/UMT.

CLEMSON, S.C. – Pitt (18-10, 9-8 ACC) held the lead for over 25 minutes of action in a game that featured 13 lead changes and five ties before falling, 69-62, in a grueling battle with Clemson (20-8, 10-7 ACC) at Littlejohn Coliseum. Carlton Carrington paced the Panthers with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals, while Ishmael Leggett came off the bench to post 15 points and five rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a dry spell from three-point range that saw the Panthers go 2-of-15 (.133) from beyond the arc in the second half.

Zack Austin hit a three on the opening possession and Jaland Lowe added another three to help push the Panthers to an 8-3 lead by the first media timeout. The Panthers extended the lead to 10 (23-13) on Austin’s second three with 9:29 left to play in the first half.

Clemson used a 7-2 run to trim the deficit to two possessions before Leggett beat the shot clock with a step-back jumper and added a hanging finish through contact with 1:24 remaining to give the Panthers a 31-23 edge. Clemson scored the final four points to trim the deficit in half at the break.

The Panthers entered the break up 31-27 after holding Clemson to 39 percent (9-of-23) shooting from the field and forcing seven turnovers. Pitt opened the game by making five of its first six three-point attempts and led by as much as 10 before cooling off over the final six minutes of the first half.

Leggett went 4-of-5 from the field off the bench and scored nine points in the first half, while Lowe added seven points and Carrington posted five points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Both teams came out trading punches in the second half with Clemson taking a 37-35 lead on a PJ Hall corner three. Pitt regained the lead as Carrington hit a pair of threes in a 43 second span to snap a string of 11 consecutive misses from beyond the arc. His stepback three at the 8:44 mark spotted the Panthers to a 50-46 lead.

Clemson responded with a 6-0 run to grab the lead before Leggett tied the contest at 52 with 6:25 remaining on another tough finish through contact. The remainder of the game was played within two possessions with Carrington just missing tying it up at 63 in the final minute of play. His three-pointer from the right wing went just long off the back iron and Clemson got a three-pointer that bounced off the front rim before bouncing high in the air and through.

Carrington, who was saddled with foul trouble in the first half, scored 13 of his 18 points in the final seven minutes of action. Lowe (11) and Austin (10) also scored in double figures for the Panthers.

Clemson got strong efforts from Ian Schieffelin (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Joseph Girard III (15 points, 5-of-6 FG). Schieffelin hit a key three-pointer late in the contest and got a breakaway dunk to help hold off the Panthers.

TALE OF TWO HALVES FROM DEEP

Pitt opened the game 5-of-6 from three-point range and shot 50 percent (5-of-10) from beyond the arc in the opening half. After intermission, the Panthers could not find the touch going just 2-of-15 (.133) from long range.

SEASON LOW TOs

Pitt matched a season low with just three turnovers in the game. The Panthers held a 9-2 edge in points off turnovers, while forcing Clemson into 11 turnovers.

ISH BIG OFF THE BENCH

Leggett continued to show why he is a leading candidate for ACC Sixth Man of the Year recording his 10th double figure scoring game in the past 11 contests.

ON GUARD

Pitt’s guard trio of Carrington, Leggett, and Lowe combined for 44 of the team’s 62 points and 14 of its 20 made field goals.

UP NEXT

Pitt is back on the road this weekend with a trip to Boston College on Saturday (March 2 – ACCN).

Source: Matt Plizga/Pitt Athletics