PITTSBURGH — On Tuesday night, in Mike Krzyzewski’s final coaching trip to Pittsburgh, his star-studded Duke Blue Devils out shined Pitt and comfortably defeated the Panthers, 86-56.
Duke’s trio of highly-touted freshman — Trevor Keels, Paolo Banchero, and AJ Griffin — proved to be too much to handle for a struggling Pitt team, combining for 60 points in the Blue Devils’ seventh-straight win.
Duke opened the game by hitting four of its first five threes, building a quick 16-3 lead over Pitt right out of the gates. While the Panthers tightened up their defense throughout the rest of the half, they could not quite create enough chances offensively to keep the game within reach, and went into the break down 17.
The second half was more of the same, as No. 4 Duke shot 70% from the field to secure the victory.
Keels came out of the gates on fire, leading the Blue Devils with 15 first-half points on 6-for-7 shooting, including 3 for 3 from three-point land. Pitt’s defense could not keep up with Keels all game, as he finished the contest with a game-high 27.
Banchero, who has been widely regarded as one of the top players in the nation all year, followed Keels with a 21-point performance of his own in the win. He showcased a complete skill set, hitting all three of his three-point attempts and attacking the rim with force and finesse throughout the night.
For Pitt, John Hugley delivered a strong outing inside for the Panthers, scoring a team-high 19 points and grabbing six rebounds in the losing effort. He hit eight of his 15 shots, including one of his three three-point chances, and also turned the ball over four times in the loss.
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Jamarius Burton followed Hugley with 13 points, finding success with his mid-range game early and sticking to it throughout the rest of the game. He knocked down four of his first five shots, but struggled to get open looks in the second half, adding just four points to his total in the frame.
With the loss, the Panthers fell to 11-19, as well as 6-13 in ACC play, while Duke improved to 26-4 overall and 16-3 in conference play.
Pitt will conclude its regular season slate with a matchup at Notre Dame on Saturday, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNNews.