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Pitt Basketball

Five Things to Know Before Pitt vs. Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium

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The Panthers snapped a five-game winning streak Saturday hosting Clemson. With first place on the line, Pitt relinquished an eight-point lead in the final five and a half minutes to drop its first ACC game.

The road does not become friendlier for the Panthers. Pitt battles Duke Wednesday at 7 p.m. from Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

Here are five things to know ahead of Pitt’s (11-5, 4-1 ACC) matchup against the Duke Blue Devils (12-4, 3-2). 

Depending on Jamarius 

Jamarius Burton has carried the freight for the Panthers throughout the first five conference games. Burton scored a career-high 31 points against No. 25 North Carolina and 28 against Clemson at the Petersen Events Center. He tied a season-high 38 minutes – which he reached for the third time – and recorded six rebounds and four assists. 

Averaging 16.6 points, 33 minutes, five rebounds, and four assists per game, Burton is shooting 44.8% from behind the three-point arc. Blake Hinson was the next closest point scorer at 14, half of Burton’s total output.

“We weren’t able to make shots down the stretch,” head coach Jeff Capel said after the game. “I thought we got good looks, and they [Clemson] made some tough ones. They banked in a shot over some tough defense, we played good defense, they get an offensive rebound, and a guy that hadn’t scored in conference play makes a shot. That’s the difference in the game.”

Pitt will rely on its graduate student for quality minutes and consistency as ACC play meets close to its midpoint. Nelly Cummings shot 3-of-11 for eight points and Hinson 4-of-11 in the defeat, needing an improved performance to upset Duke.

The seventh episode of Just Buckets with Jamarius Burton and hosted by Pittsburgh Sports Now‘s George Michalowski featuring KJ Marshall and Vason Stevenson is now available.

Hugley Update… 

Forward John Hugley has not played in over a month, last taking the floor for 11 minutes against Sacred Heart on Dec. 10. It’s been an odd season for the Panthers’ 2021-22 leading scorer, totaling 12 points in his last four games and seven rebounds. Hugley played double-digit minutes against NC State and Vanderbilt but failed to record a rebound.

Following the Clemson matchup, Capel addressed how Hugley’s absence is not injury related and there is no update on his potential return.

“The focus is making sure he’s ok, making sure he’s good physically, mentally, and in the space that he can play and help us,” Capel said.

The Panthers have relied on Federiko Federiko, Blake Hinson, and Guillermo and Jorge Diaz Graham down low, with the latter three able to stretch the floor and shoot around the perimeter.

Changes inside Cameron

A new era of Duke basketball began this season when former assistant Jon Scheyer was promoted to fill the shoes of Hall of Fame coach and basketball legend Mike Krzyzewski. With four losses this season, Duke has matched its total from Feb. 7 of last year, losing 69-68 against Virginia.

The Blue Devils are one of the best teams in the country at the free-throw line. Ranking tied for 13th in college basketball, starters Tyrese Proctor (87.1%), Kyle Filipowski (78.9%), and Mark Mitchell (73.7%) all help Duke during end-of-game situations and secure free points. Duke has struggled shooting from three (32.7%) and makes nearly two triples less than the Panthers (8.8-6.9). Rebounding is once again a Blue Devil strong suit. Pitt and Duke rank similarly in total rebounding (36.1-35.9) but Scheyer’s squad dominates the offensive glass. They average 11.6 offensive boards, tied for 17th in the country. 

Veteran point guard Jeremy Roach is likely out for the Blue Devils following a toe injury. Roach has started all 14 games he’s appeared in, averaging 11.9 points and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 35.7%. Filipowski leads the team in scoring, 13.9 points per game, while Mitchell (11.9) and Proctor (7.4) contribute to the program’s 72.4 scoring average. 

Jeff Capel returns to his former home as a player and assistant coach with the best Panther team under his helm. 

“Playing in the hostile environment, it will be loud in there, it will be an energetic crowd,” Capel told reporters including Michalowski. “I’m pretty sure their students are back, and it may be the first game that they’re back with school back in session. Yeah, it will be loud, so it’s very, very important for us to communicate.”

Spread, Over/Under

Duke is favored by 8.5 points in Wednesday’s latest odds, according to DraftKings Sportsbook

The Panthers are 11-4-1 ATS this year, according to Covers.com, and dominated covering the spread over the past month before failing against Clemson. Pitt snapped a 10-game streak ATS hosting the Tigers Saturday. Duke is 7-9 ATS and the over has been reached in six of 16 opportunities.

The over/under for the game is set at 142.5 points. The Blue Devils are -390 on the money line with the Panthers at +320. The over has hit in 11 of the Panthers’ 16 matchups including the Clemson game. 

Broadcast, Radio Info

The Pitt-Duke matchup will air on the ACC Network beginning at 7 p.m. Wes Durham and Dan Bonner have the call from Cameron Indoor. The game will also broadcast live on sports radio 93.7 The Fan. 

Pitt continues its three-game road trip Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech at 3 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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