Pitt Reaches .500 After Beating Towson 63-59
Pittsburgh, Pa-For the 2nd straight game, the Pitt Panthers basketball team was determined to fight for their victory, and for the 2nd straight game, their determination paid off as they defeated the Towson Tigers 63-59 at the Petersen Events Center, to improve their record to 2-2 (0-0 ACC)
“I’m really proud of our guys. This was a big win for us to be able to scratch and claw into making some big plays down the stretch.” Said Pitt head coach Jeff Capel. “I thought our defensive energy from the 16 minute mark of the second half was outstanding. We had some guys step up.”
One of those guys who stepped up was Freshman G Nate Santos who not only led Pitt with 14 points, but he also made 4 Three-pointers. Seniors Dan Oladapo and Jamarius Burton each scored 11 points, while sophomore William Jeffress had seven points, six rebounds, four assists and a block. Sophomore Noah Collier registered seven points, including five in the final five minutes of play.
“I thought Noah Collier was tremendous. He was ready for the moment. He played above the rim, he played with energy, and played with force. He did a really good job. I thought Nate Santos was outstanding, obviously shooting but the eight rebounds as well.”-Said Capel
But Towson (2-2) certainly didn’t make it easy for Pitt as they stormed early 5-0 and 10-8 leads before the Panthers found their spark, eventually closing their deficit to 29-26 at halftime. Towson led 37-30 three minutes into the second half, but a Santos three and a Burton jumper quickly made it a two point affair (37-35) with 15 minutes to play. The Panthers took their first lead (41-39) since the first half at the 12:06 mark courtesy of a Collier layup.
Then the remaining minutes of the game resembled a street fight as the Panthers and Tigers exchanged leads several times, until Oladapo who spent the majority of the half on the bench, entered the game and hit a key 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 58-55 lead with 2:22 remaining and never trailed again.
When asked why Oladapo was on the bench, Capel replied “Team’s not about one guy, it’s about everyone. So, if one guy’s doesn’t play, it probably means that somebody else is playing pretty well…He wasn’t playing well. He was not playing well. Body language wasn’t good. It’s not our standard and we are no deviating from that no matter who it is.”
The Panthers will now aim to go over .500 Wednesday night as they host Vanderbilt. The key to their continued success is their fight and their determination. “So, really proud of our team. Will [Jeffress] defended again at a high level, rebounded the basketball, and made a huge mid-range shot. We got some really good production from JB today. So, proud of our guys, proud of all of them. Big win today.”
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