PITTSBURGH – It wasn’t pretty at times, but Pitt is back in the win column thanks to freshman wing Justin Champagnie.
Just three days removed from a frustrating setback at Notre Dame, Pitt edged Georgia Tech, 73-64, Saturday at the Petersen Events Center in a game that ended a lot closer than it should have been.
Champagnie finished with a game to remember. The freshman tallied a career-high 30 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds, one steal and a block. He made 12 of his 17 shot attempts from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc – pacing Pitt, sans Ryan Murphy, to a much-needed ACC win.
Pitt (15-9, 6-7) led for a majority of the afternoon, but coughed up a nine-point lead in latter portion of the second half as Georgia Tech closed the gap to a 52-52 tie with 4:30 to go. The Panthers, however, ended the game on a 21-12 run to emerge victorious and exceed their season win total (14) from a year ago.
Champagnie’s 30-point performance was the first for a Panther since January 29, 2019, when Xavier Johnson put up 30 on the road against Clemson.
Trey McGowens ended with 11 points and nine assists. Johnson, who shot a low 2-for-8, finished with 10 points, and Terrell Brown added nine points and six rebounds before he fouled out with 4:30 left in the game. For Georgia Tech, Michael Devoe led the Yellow Jackets with 22 points. The Panthers forced a season-high 22 turnovers.
Georgia Tech, a group ranked amongst the worst of the ACC in offensive efficiency, began the game with more turnovers (11) than it did baskets (7). The Panthers shot just 35 percent (10-28) in the first half, though, and entered the break with a 28-24 lead. Champagne scored 17 of his 30 points in the second half as the Panthers weathered Georgia Tech’s late comeback.
Looking forward, Pitt will welcome Clemson to the Petersen Events Center on Feb. 12 for a 9 p.m. tip