PITTSBURGH — For the second consecutive season, Pitt has started its men’s basketball season with a home loss to a mid-major.
After a narrow loss to St. Francis to start the 2020-21 season, the Panthers started the 2021-22 campaign with a home date against The Citadel Bulldogs, a .500 team out of the Southern Conference.
Instead of a close loss, this year Pitt was run out of own building.
The Citadel opened up the game on a 14-2 run and never trailed by fewer than nine points the rest of the way in a total domination of the Panthers that ended in a 78-63 Bulldogs victory.
The Bulldogs made 13 3-pointers and were 13 of 36 (36% from beyond the arc), while Pitt shot only 38% from the floor.
Several times, the Panthers were able to get a run on offense, particularly by working the ball on offense to John Hugley, but could not sustain those runs with stops on defense.
Hugley finished with a career high 27 points to lead all scorers on 10 of 20 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Point guard Femi Odukale was the only other Pitt player with a notable offensive contribution. He scored 20 on 8 of 14 from the floor and added four rebounds and four assists. The whole rest of the Pitt team contributed just 14 points on 4 for 25 shooting.
Things will not get easier for Pitt, which will visit West Virginia on Friday.