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Pitt Basketball

Justin Champagnie Steps into Pitt History with 20-20 Performance

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Justin Champagnie entered rare company on Wednesday night in Evanston, Illinois.

The sophomore Pitt wing’s two-handed dunk made Pitt 71-70 come-from-behind winners over Northwestern after the team had trailed for 38:14 of the 40-minute game.

The win was what Champagnie and company were looking for after battling back from a 14-point deficit to knock off the Wildcats.

But the dunk also gave Champagnie 20 points on the night. When combined with him already setting a career high with 20 rebounds, that made it a historic night for the Brooklyn native. Champagnie’s 20-20 performance was Pitt’s first in over 11 years and he became just the 11th player in the team’s 115-year history.

The last Panthers player to perform the feat was DeJuan Blair, who did it twice in 2009, the second time in Pitt’s legendary win over Hasheem Thabeet and the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies. That game was probably televised in Brooklyn, but Champagnie has no memory of it specifically.

16 February 2009: Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet (34) and Pittsburgh forward DeJuan Blair (45) go up after the jump ball to start play during the Pittsburgh Panthers 76-68 win over the UConn Huskies at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

“In 2009, I was eight years old,” Champagnie said. “I was just a wild little kid running around. I played basketball, but I never really watched it. I hear a lot about [Blair]. Coach [Capel] talks about him, how he was a tough player. His era was a tough era. He just went out there and hooped.”

Blair turned his pair of 20-20 performances into an NBA career after he was drafted after his sophomore season in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs in 2009.

The only other Pitt player to have more than one 20-30 games was Billy Knight, who had three in his Pitt career and was the same listed height as Champagnie at 6-foot-6. Knight was drafted by the Indiana Pacers and became an ABA and NBA all-star. His No. 34 is one of four that hang from the rafters at Petersen Events Center.

Champagnie’s feat was the second time a Pitt player had 20 and 20 against Northwestern, following Brian Shorter, who did it at home game at Fitzgerald Field House in 1988.

Here’s full the list of the fraternity Champagnie joined as a member of Pitt’s 20-20 Club:

Justin Champagnie, Dec. 9, 2020 at Northwestern: 20 points, 20 rebounds
DeJuan Blair, Feb. 16, 2009 at Connecticut: 22 points, 23 rebounds
DeJuan Blair, Jan. 31, 2009 vs. Notre Dame: 23 points, 22 rebounds
Chris McNeal, March 3, 1992 vs. Boston College: 27 points, 20 rebounds
Bobby Martin, Feb. 7, 1990 at Georgetown: 27 points, 20 rebounds
Brian Shorter, Dec. 28, 1988 vs. Northwestern: 26 points, 20 rebounds
Jerome Lane, Feb. 21, 1987 at Connecticut: 20 points, 21 rebounds
Sam Clancy, Feb. 21, 1987 vs. Duquesne: 20 points, 20 rebounds
Mel Bennett, March 7, 1975 at West Virginia: 22 points, 21 rebounds
Billy Knight, Jan. 20, 1974 vs. Buffalo: 25 points, 21 rebounds
Billy Knight, Feb. 11, 1972 vs. Syracuse: 33 points, 20 rebounds
Billy Knight, Jan. 26, 1972 vs. Lafayette: 26 points, 21 rebounds
Paul O’Gorek, Jan. 6, 1971 at George Washington: 25 points, 20 rebounds
Jim LaValley, Dec. 1, 1966 vs. Carnegie Tech: 26 points, 20 rebounds

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
 
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