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Pitt Basketball

Five Things to Know Before Pitt vs. Georgia Tech in Atlanta

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The Panthers find themselves in the midst of their second losing streak of the season. For the second-straight game, Pitt held a respectable lead before relinquishing it to the opposition, 

Pitt embarks on the middle game of its three-game road trip in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. Here are five things to know ahead of the Pitt Panthers (11-6, 4-1 ACC) matchup against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-8, 1-5). 

Second Half Collapse

The Panthers held the Duke Blue Devils on the ropes Wednesday night, leading by 12 and in a position to prove their doubters and haters wrong. A chance to prove that the 2022-23 Pitt basketball team is truly back to its former glory. The Panthers did that… for only half the night. 

Pitt shot 17-of-30 (56.67%) in the first half and held a 43-32 advantage. The Panthers limited the Blue Devils to a 30% clip from the field before the script flipped in the second half. Despite shooting 1-of-11 (9%) from three, Duke dominated the glass en route to 51 total rebounds and two players – Kyle Filipowski (15) and Ryan Young (10) – grabbing double-digit rebounds. In total, Pitt was outrebounded 51-28. 

“Obviously, (Duke) dominated the glass,” head coach Capel said following the performance. “That really was the difference in the game. It’s rare that you see a team shoot 22% from 3 and they win, and they did that because of how they dominated in the second half. I thought (Duke) played really, really hard.”

Duke turned the rock over on 17 occasions but closed out the game at the charity stripe. Jon Scheyer’s squad converted on 16-of-18 (88.9%) tripes to the line. Pitt tallied a 28.5% mark in the final 20 minutes and converted on 3-of-12 (25%) three-point attempts. 

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 Out For Season

BREAKING: John Hugley announced his decision to sit out the remainder of the 2022-23 season to focus on his mental and physical health. 

https://twitter.com/thejohnhugley/status/1614306387525533696?s=20&t=tLcHN19GUciltd5bEwz20w

Being suffocated in the rebounding department sunk the Panthers’ ship and chances at a road upset. Filipowski and Mark Mitchell both recorded four offensive rebounds. The Panthers as a team grabbed nine. Young dominated Pitt on the offensive glass, securing seven of his 10 rebounds on the scoring end. 

Hugley remained out of the lineup for the Panthers and has not played since Dec. 10, 2022. In 32 games last season, Hugley led the Panthers in scoring (14.8 points per game) and averaged 7.9 rebounds. He also totaled 15 blocks and 23 steals. 

“(Hugley) is very committed despite the things that he’s battling and going through,” graduate guard Jamarius Burton said after the Duke game. “For me, as his teammate and as his brother, I just continue to support him and encourage him to run his own race. Obviously, we miss him. He’s a big piece to what we can do.”

Knowing the former Honorable Mention All-ACC player will not return, Pitt must rely on Federiko Federiko and the Diaz Graham twins to play the bulk of minutes, which they have in every ACC game during Hugley’s absence. 

Missing Their Stinger

The Yellow Jackets have lost their last two games in a row including a one-point defeat at Notre Dame (73-72). Situated with only one ACC victory against Miami on Jan. 4, Georgia Tech returns home following a two-game road trip. GT has found its best success inside the Hank McCamish Pavilion, owning a home record of 7-2. 

Georgia Tech takes care of the ball to the tune of 10.9 turnovers, tied for 48th in the country, and shoots a modest 72.3% at the free-throw line. Scoring 71.1 points per game, the Yellow Jackets rank 10th in the ACC but 13th in field-goal percentage (43.1%). The team ranks in the middle portions of the ACC in nearly every statistical category. 

Guard Miles Kelly is the only player averaging double-digit points. Kelly scores 14.4 points per game while shooting 41.6% in over 30 minutes. Kelly also owns a 40% clip from distance. Forward Ja’von Franklin is questionable to play Saturday due to an illness hampering him leading up to the game. Franklin posted a double-double of a team-high 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Fighting Irish. Forward Jalon Moore is a player to watch out for, averaging 9.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, one steal, and one block per contest.

Spread, Over/Under

Pitt is favored by 3 points in Saturday’s latest odds, according to DraftKings Sportsbook

The Panthers are 12-4-1 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 last Saturday. The team did barely cover the 8.5-point spread against Duke. Georgia Tech is 8-7 ATS and the over has been reached in six opportunities. 

The over/under for the game is set at 143 points. The Panthers are -165 on the money line with the Yellow Jackets at +140. The over has hit in 12 of the Panthers’ 17 matchups including the Clemson and Duke games. 

Broadcast, Radio Info

The Pitt-Georgia Tech matchup will air on the ACC Network beginning at 3 p.m. Mike Monaco and Randolph Childress have the call from Atlanta. The game will also be broadcast live on sports radio 93.7 The Fan. 

Pitt concludes its three-game stint away from home Wednesday against Louisville beginning at 7 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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