Tigers outlast Panthers, hand Pitt 11th straight loss
By Jason Earle
The Panthers’ ACC struggles continued Wednesday night at the Petersen Events Center as the team dropped its 11th consecutive contest, falling 62-48 to Clemson, dropping Pitt to 12-16 on the season and 2-13 in ACC competition.
The Tigers were hot from the get-go, taking an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest while also knocking down five of their first six three-point attempts. Marcquise Reed, who dropped 26 points in Clemson’s January 29th victory over Pitt, caught fire in the first half of this one once again, ending the first twenty minutes with 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field. Elijah Thomas also contributed his fair share, tallying 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists in the first half. Meanwhile, the Panthers struggled on both sides of the ball, heading into halftime on a scoring drought of nearly three minutes. Clemson extended its lead to 22 points at the break, leading Pitt 38-16.
Trey McGowens and Kene Chukwuka sparked an early run for the Panthers at the start of the second half as Pitt scored seven unanswered points in a minute and a half span. The Panthers extended this into a 13-2 run over a 4:45 period in which Clemson was held scoreless and committed four turnovers. After knocking down 8 three-point attempts in the first half, the Tigers missed their first six from downtown in the second, allowing Pitt to climb back in the game and cut the lead to 10 with seven and a half minutes to play.
Consistent free throw shooting from Terrell Brown also helped the Panther comeback as the sophomore knocked down 7 of 8 on the night. However, Hunter Tyson was crucial in fending off the late challenge, knocking down 3 three-pointers on the night for a total of 9 points. As the Tigers found their form again, Pitt returned to its first half ways, enduring a six minute stretch without a field goal within the final ten minutes. Pittsburgh was also held scoreless for the last two minutes of the contest, and Clemson escaped victorious, 62-48.
Xavier Johnson and Terrell Brown were the only double digit scorers for Pitt, tallying 14 and 11 points, respectively. As for Clemson, Marcquise Reed, Elijah Thomas, and Shelton Mitchell all scored at least ten. Thomas was the impact player, leading the team in rebounds and assists.
The Panthers’ 11-game losing streak is the second longest in program history, while Clemson looks to continue improving its tournament resume, moving to 17-11 for the season.
Pitt is back in action Saturday at #2 Virginia, while the Tigers will host #5 North Carolina.