By Ray Porter Jr.
PITTSBURGH, PA–The Pitt Panthers basketball team continued their winning ways by knocking off the Binghamton Bearcats 89-60, to improve to 2-0 in the 2023-24 season.
“First and foremost, I’m really proud of our team. This was a really good game for us because we played against the team, that is older, they’re a veteran, hard-playing team and we knew they would come in here with a lot of confidence because of their performance on Monday against Northwestern,” said Pitt head coach Jeff Capel. “They really came after us to start the game defensively. They were physical, and they just played really, really hard. I thought we generated good looks early, we just didn’t make them, but I thought we defended well.”
Much like their season-opening win vs. North Carolina A & T, the Panthers dominated their opponent, but unlike their first game, it was their opponent who started the game with the lead as Symir Torrence’s 3-pointer gave the Bearcats the game’s first points. But it was short-lived as Game 1 hero Bub Carrington and Fedriko Fedriko tied the game at 3 and when Ishmael Leggett scored off a fast break turnover, the Panthers never trailed again.
Senior G Blake Hinson was Friday’s hero as he recovered from a slow start in the first half to finish with a game-leading 26 points and was 4 for 9 from 3-point range. Carrington would add another 18 points (without another Triple-Double) and Legett not only added 18 points, but also grabbed 11 rebounds for a Double-Double. He also added 5 assists. Guillermo Diaz Graham added 12 points off the bench that included 2 three-pointers. Federiko also added 9 rebounds as the Panthers grabbed 50 as a team for the 2nd straight game.
On Carrington’s performance- “I don’t want him to adjust it. I want him to be aggressive. I want him to be who he is. You know, I think that he understands he has some really good players around him. I thought he played outstanding tonight, not just the points and the rebounds but he did a heck of a job defensively,” Capel said.
But the Bearcats proved they weren’t pushovers in the first half as they kept the game close on a couple of occasions, as they closed Pitt’s lead to 12-10 with 11:35 left and closed the half on a 3-point buzzer-beater by Chris Walker trailing Pitt 40-32.
But that was as close as they would get to Pitt as they opened the 2nd half on a run (led by Hinson) that would extend their lead to 62-38 with over 15 minutes to play. Carrington would then nail 2 three-pointers to extend their lead to 65-41. The Bearcats fought hard to keep the game competitive, but it was too little, too late as the Panthers would continue to add to their lead and secure the victory.
Evan Ashe led Binghamton with 15 points, Nehemiah Nelson added 8 rebounds and Torrence (10 points) led the team with 5 assists.
The Panthers will now prepare to host Florida Golf Coast on Monday.
“The guys put in the work and if it’s not going in a couple of times, you’re just gonna keep shooting it. It’s just constant repetition with us. We just believe in ourselves.”-Said Leggett.
Notes: Capel on Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders who was not at Friday’s game- “Lavelle Sanders and what his wife is dealing with, he’s not here with his team. He’s over in the Czech Republic. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Hopefully, his wife is able to make a full recovery and get healthy and then be able to get back with his team.” Associate Head Coach Brian Johnson filled in for Sanders.
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