PITTSBURGH — Pitt breaks their two-game ACC skid and seven-game losing streak against Miami, with a 62-57 win on Sunday at the Petersen Events Center.
Miami’s two leading scorers, Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty (29.6 combined scoring average), both were out on Sunday with injuries. But Pitt was also without guard Ryan Murphy (10.1), who suffered a concussion at practice on Thursday.
The Panthers led for 16:47 of play in the first half and had a lead of as many as ten points. But, they continued to let a slim Hurricanes roster stick around. Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens were 4-14 from the field in the first 20-minutes.
With Murphy’s absence, Pitt failed to get much production off of its bench. Walk-on, Onyebuchi Eseakudo, who had posted just two points and one assist this season, saw action for the first time since Dec. 20 against Binghamton, ran the fast break to perfection by dropping off a pass to Au’Diese Toney for an easy bucket. Toney led Pitt at the half with 13 points and three rebounds.
Miami dropped into a 2-3 zone fairly early in the second half, and Pitt’s offense stalled, missing seven straight shots. The Panthers’ nine-point halftime lead (33-24) was erased, and the Hurricanes took a 40-39 lead with just under 13-minutes remaining.
A Murphy-less Pitt squad shot just 5-23 from the 3-point line for the game. But Trey McGowens swished home two-straight to grab back the lead in the latter half of the second half. Primarily due to more missed shots, Pitt snatched xx offensive rebounds in the half.
The offense continued to be stagnant and went on a 1-of-7 drought, and Miami tied things up at 51 apiece. Both teams traded baskets in the final two minutes of the game, but a pull-up mid-range jumper and a tough finish at the rim by Johnson sealed the deal.
Pitt shot 28.9 percent in the second half.
Toney led Pitt with his first career double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing ten rebounds. McGowens added 17 points, and Johnson dropped in 13.
Junior big man Rodney Miller Jr. led the Hurricanes with 16 points and four rebounds. Freshman Isaiah Wong added 15 points.
Up next, Pitt will travel to South Bend, Indiana, to play Notre Dame (13-8, 4-6 ACC) at 6:30 on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The Irish have won two-straight conference games (Wake Forest and Georgia Tech).