PITTSBURGH — On Saturday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center, sharp-shooting guard Darin Green carried the Florida State Seminoles over Pitt for an ACC upset, 71-64.
With under four minutes to go, Pitt trailed by six after Florida State’s Green hit all three of his free throws stemming from a controversial foul call. Pitt’s Nelly Cummings — who started the game 1 for 10 from the field and 0 for six from three-point range — snapped out of his cold streak and hit a three to cut the lead to three.
After Cummings and Jamarius Burton hit late buckets to pull the Panthers to within one point, Green, Florida State’s hot hand, hit yet another massive three to pull the Seminole lead back up to four. They would never look back, taking home the victory.
Cummings kicked off the game with a floater in the lane, electrifying the loud Oakland Zoo and energizing the Panthers early. However, after getting off to a strong 17-11 lead, Pitt then surrendered a 14-0 Seminole run as Florida State took control for the rest of the first half.
Pitt struggled mightily to put the ball in the basket, hitting just two of its last 17 shot attempts in the first half of this one. Sophomore standout Matthew Cleveland (9 points), sharp-shooter Darin Green Jr. (8 points), and fellow guard Caleb Mills (8 points) buried the Panthers into a ten-point halftime deficit.
Pitt shot 32% from the field in the first half, as well as 17% from three-point range (2-12). Jamarius Burton scored eight in the frame, Greg Elliott added seven early on, and three other players added four points apiece to pace Pitt. Blake Hinson and Cummings, two of Pitt’s top four scorers on the year, continued to struggle early on, combining to go just 2 for 12 themselves in the first half.
However, the Panthers came out of the gates with a vengeance, looking to Elliott, Burton, and Hinson for early buckets. Pitt trimmed the lead to just three points less than five minutes into the second frame, and the stage was set for another close ACC competition down the stretch.
After starting the game 1-6 from the field, Hinson took it upon himself to bring the Panthers all the way back into this one. Panther guards Cummings and Burton found him for four more outside looks in the next five minutes, and Hinson knocked down three of them. The Panthers, and their crowd, were right back in it and had taken the lead with over 13 minutes to play.
Pitt’s Burton finished as the team’s leading scorer, hitting eight of his 13 tries to finish with 20 points. Hinson fouled out with a late penalty, but finished second in scoring with 16 points and nine rebounds in the effort.
Green led the Seminoles with a game-high 24 points, hitting five of his eight three-point attempts. In addition, Caleb Mills finished with 11, Matthew Cleveland added 11, and the team shot 51% as a whole in the contest.
With the win, Florida State improves to 7-13 (5-4 ACC), while Pitt drops to 13-7 and 6-3 in ACC play.
Pitt will look to start up a new winning streak on Wednesday, Jan. 25 against Wake Forest. That matchup will tip off at the Petersen Events Center at 7 p.m. The Demon Deacons, led by electrifying guard Tyree Appleby (Florida transfer), are 14-6 (6-3 ACC) on the year so far.