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Second-Half Collapse Sinks Pitt in Backyard Brawl, 68-53

Second-Half Collapse Sinks Pitt in Backyard Brawl, 68-53

PITTSBURGH — What appeared to be a competitive battle in the 187th playing of the Backyard Brawl quickly degenerated into a rout as Pitt completely fell apart in the second half and dropped a 68-53 decision to West Virginia at Petersen Events Center on Friday.

The Panthers and Mountaineers were separated by just one point at the half-time break after a hard-fought opening period full of fouls and generally limited offensive opportunities.

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In the second half, Pitt couldn’t get anything going on offense at all. The Panthers shot 3 of 25 in the second half. Two makes were on dunks, meaning the Panthers made just one shot from the floor.

For the game, the Panthers hit just 16 of 53 for 30.2 percent after shooting 42 percent from the floor in their first three games of the season.

In either half, Pitt had no answer for freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe. The Kennedy Catholic (Hermitage, Pa.) alum had a double-double before halftime and finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks.

Not helping matters were foul trouble for Pitt’s bigs from the get-go. Terrell Brown and Eric Hamilton played a combined 7:51 of the first half, with Abdoul Karim Coulibaly and Samson George pressed into duty.

In the second half, the presence of Brown and Hamilton failed to lift the Panthers. They combined fo just four points on 1 of 7 from the floor.

Pitt was led offensively by its off-ball guards, as Trey McGowens had 13 points, Justin Champagnie 12 and Ryan Murphy 11. Xavier Johnson continued his quiet 2019-20 season with four points and five assists in 29 minutes.

Pitt, now 2-2, will next host Monmouth on Monday at Petersen Events Center. That game has a 7 p.m. tipoff.


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Eddie Futch
Eddie Futch

Ugly game! They can not shoot and the inside game is non existent. Brutal reminder of how deep the whole is that Capel needs to dig out of. It is going to take years before they will be decent again.


Capel inherited a bad situation but when your guards are undisciplined and turnover-machines, the head coach cannot allow possessions where his guards run just pick and rolls, which is way too much freedom. How about some offensive sets that take away the freedom to freelance? Since his guards cant create shots and breakdown a defense with said offensive freedom, maybe the HC needs to take charge, neuter them a bit, to right the ship because his starting guards are a one-trick pony and good coaches are proving they can shutdown his offense. The bluebloods can roll out a ball and… Read more »

Mike Vukovcan

Good points Smljf….

Eddie Futch
Eddie Futch

Well said. You are spot on!

Pat Adonizio
Pat Adonizio

I respetfully disagree. Stallings inherited the bad situation, had Capel kept all the pieces(Stewart, Carr, Luther..), we’d be in a better place. Understandable you want your own kids, but sometimes it’s best not to gut a situation. Stallings was faced with 2 primadonnas, and several non-DI players, no depth, his 2nd year he had the youngest team in NCAA, they took their lumps but were better for it. Had they remained together who knows.

Alan Saunders

The only way Pitt is going to succeed is if those players learn how to use the freedom they’re given. It’s a player-oriented system. If they do well, they’ll be stars. If they don’t, Pitt’s going to struggle.

Richard Johnson

It is about time Coulibaly played. He and George are not scared or as soft as some. I do not want to criticize these kids, but this is basketball not masonry. All the bricks last night I couldn’t tell. Too many players on scholarships who cannot shoot or make free throws is not a good way to keep ones job. I love the Capel hire but maybe he should make it mandatory that his new recruits can at least shoot and his bigs are more than tall and have heart.

Bill Emanuel
Bill Emanuel

I read a post on another site that the poster said he hopes the 2 guards are not James Robinson who never improved from his freshman year. This may be the case. Brown is very, very soft. I keep waiting for another Blair or even G. Mcghee. Maybe Hughley will be the one. They don’t have it on this years team. They never really look to any bigs under the basket because again Brown is wasted space.

Richard Johnson

I agree 100%

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