Pitt / Florida State Score ( Photo Courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

                                        Pitt Falls to #8 Florida St. 82-67

[Tallahassee, Fl] When the Pitt Panthers opened the 2019-20 College Basketball season, they pulled off a huge upset by beating the nationally ranked Florida State Seminoles 63-61 at the Petersen Events Center. They weren’t as fortunate the second time around as the Panthers travelled to the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee and were beaten 82-67.

 

“We need time,” Said Pitt head coach Jeff Capel. “I’ve been here for a little bit over a year. We need time to recruit and we must win some recruiting battles. It’s gonna happen, but it’s not gonna happen right away.”

University of Pittsburgh Head Mens’ Basketball Coach Jeff Capel (Photo Credit: Vince Butts -UMT Sports )

Patrick Williams scored 16 points for the Seminoles, while Anthony Polite had 10 points and six rebounds and No. 8 Florida State Seminoles (22-4, 12-3 ACC) pulled away in the second half to defeat the Panthers and improve to 14-0 at home.

What has hurt this young Panthers team is the size advantage in the paint and the Seminoles had plenty of it as they out rebounded Pitt 40-27. Most of those rebounds came from 7-1 260-pound
Balsa Koprivica who owned Pitt centers Terrell Brown and Abdol-Kareem Coulibay who combined for 6 rebounds, while Au’diese Toney led Pitt with 7 rebounds as well as 15 points.

 

 

“They take away everything.” Said Capel on Florida State “They’re one of the better defensive teams in the country.”  Xavier Johnson added 12 points and seven assists for Pittsburgh (15-12, 6-10), which has lost six of its last eight games. The Panthers started the game strong as they punched the Seminoles in the mouth en route to a 15-7 lead, but Florida State slowed Pitt down the same way as Clemson and Virginia Tech did:effective shooting, especially from 3-point range as they shot 40.9% (9-22).

Meanwhile, the Panthers could only generate 18.2% shooting (4-22) from 3-point range which really hurt them, especially since 3-point specialist Ryan Murphy continues his struggles (0-2) since returning from a concussion. The Panthers last lead would be 29-28 before The Seminoles would take the lead and never trail again the rest of the game. However, the Panthers would keep it close at halftime, only trailing by 5.

 

But Florida State used the second half to prove why they continue to challenge Duke for the top spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead in the second half and led by as much as 22 points. Although they had 4 players score in double-figures, the Panthers have experienced a power shortage from the scoring department. 3 games after scoring a career-high 30, Justin Champagnie hasn’t been the same as he scored 11, as did Brown and leading scorer Trey McGowens was only
able to manage 3 points.

The Panthers are struggling at a time in which they really need to make an impression for
postseason play. It would take a miracle for them to make the NCAA Tournament, which would require them winning the ACC Tournament, but Pitt’s realistic hopes would be for a berth in the National Invitational Tournament. (NIT) which would give them their first postseason berth since 2015-16.

But despite the struggles, Pitt has made strides and Capel is pleased. “Maybe because of the start we got off to, people thought this was going to happen quick. It’s not quick. It was a dumpster fire that I took over and we’ve done a really good job.”

The Panthers must now shake this off and prepare to face Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 22.


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