Pitt Dunks Duke 79-73

Pitts' Justin Champagnie on the slam in the Panthers win over Monmouth 11-18-19 (Photo Credit : Vince Butts-UMT Sports)
                              Panthers Prevail over Blue Devils 
[Pittsburgh, PA] The Pitt Panthers (7-2,3-1) entered the ACC contest against Duke on a 2 game winning streak, despite four of their past six games postponed due to coronavirus.
The Blue Devils  (5-3,3-1)meanwhile, fell out of the top 25 recently, marking the 1st time neither the blue devils nor North Carolina had been ranked since the days of Michael Jordan.

Pitt was scheduled to play Duke on December 29th, but the game was cancelled due to a positive Co vid test results in the panther program. The game has yet to be rescheduled.
Pitt never trailed, but Duke kept fighting hard to the end. Justin Champagnie was a monster once again scoring 31 points with 14 rebounds and 5 blocks to help Pitt defeat Duke 79-73.
Pitt improved to 8-2, 4-1 in the ACC, Pitt’s best start in the conference since joining the ACC.
Pitt swingman Au’dise Toney also had double/double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Point guard Xavier Johnson had 9 points and 11 assist.

Pitt jumped out to a 15 point lead in the 2nd half. But Duke freshman phenom Jalen Johnson scored 18 of his 24 points in the 2nd half and wouldn’t go away. Duke cut Pitt’s lead to 58-52, But Champagnie was relentless scoring seven points on two foul shots, a basket and a timely 3 pointer.
Duke kept fighting, and Pitt’s lead was down to 68-66 after Duke’s Forward Mathew Hurt hit a 3 pointer with 5min left.
But Duke freshman phenom Jalen Johnson fouled out with 2 minutes left and Champagnie’s foul shot gave Pitt a 73-69 lead. Duke continued to fight hard as Mathew Hurt scored in the paint to cut the lead to 75-73 with 1:21 left.

Pitt guard Xavier Johnson found Au’ dise Toney with a mean no look pass for a thunderous dunk to put Pitt up four points and Johnson’s 2 foul shots with 24 seconds remaining gave Pitt a 79-73 lead. Champagnie and Femi Odukale missed four foul shots in the final seconds.
Pitt scored the 1st 8 points in the 1st 2 minutes of the opening tipoff.
Duke Forward Mathew Hurt, who came into the game leading the ACC in scoring (19ppg) had only 4 points in the 1st half.
Next up for the Pitt Panthers a road trip to Boston College Saturday night January 23rd at 6pm.
Keith Platt Jr. Covering the Panthers (Photo Courtesy of UMT-Sports)
Story by Keith Platt Jr.