Pitt’s Veterans Spark Second-Half Run to Defeat Georgia Tech, 76-68
PITTSBURGH — After a back and forth battle for the first 30 minutes against Georgia Tech, Pitt looked to its stars late to take home its 20th victory of the season over the feisty Yellow Jackets on Tuesday night, winning 76-68.
With just under ten minutes to play, Pitt’s Jamarius Burton nailed a jump-shot, kickstarting a red-hot run in which Pitt drained seven of its next eight attempts spanning all the way until three minutes left in the game. The run included a loud slam from Federiko Federiko, a Nike Sibande finger roll lay-in, two Nelly Cummings three pointers, and more buckets from Hinson and Burton.
To close out the victory, Pitt used a big three-pointer from Hinson as well as some key free throws from Cummings and Burton to take down the Jackets.
Cummings stuffed the stat sheet in the win, scoring 22 points, dishing out seven assists, and grabbing six rebounds. Hinson finished with 19 points in the win, hitting five of his nine three-point tries. Burton followed with 12 points, scoring in double-digits for the 23rd time this season out of 26 games played.
With the win, Pitt advanced to 20-8 on the year (13-4 ACC), reaching the 20-win mark for the first time since 2015-16, when the program finished 21-12.
Sophomore forward Federiko Federiko played a massive role in the Panthers’ comeback victory, contributing eight points in the second half for a total of 14 on the night. Federiko also grabbed seven of the team’s 34 boards in the win.
Cummings led the Panthers out of the gates, hitting three of his first five shot attempts to build an early lead. Cummings flashed his skill-set early on, dazzling the Petersen Events Center crowd with a behind-the-back dime to Blake Hinson for a three, and a pair of early threes himself. Shortly after the Panthers’ hot start, Josh Pastner’s Georgia Tech squad bounced back, hitting six of seven field goals to bring the game back to an even tie with three minutes left in the half.
Pitt struggled to force any sort of pressure on the Yellow Jackets early, as Pastner’s squad did not record a single turnover in the first half. Meanwhile, Pitt turned the ball over five times, which directly resulted in 11 points for the Jackets that half. Despite the turnover margin, the Panthers and Jackets shot 41 and 42% from the field, respectively.
The Panthers hit just two of their first eight three-point tries from deep, allowing Georgia Tech to retain its lead with less than 12 minutes to go. Then came the run, which sank Georgia Tech to 11-17 on the year and 3-14 in ACC play.
The Yellow Jackets looked to Miles Kelly to lead the team, as he poured in 24 points on 8-for-17 shooting. Kelly hit a team-high six threes in the loss. Ja’Von Franklin grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for the Jackets, and also added 15 points. Georgia Tech was without guard Deivon Smith due to injury.
The Panthers welcomed back Pitt football alumni Damar Hamlin and Tyler Boyd during the game as well.
Damar Hamlin in Attendance at Pitt Basketball Game Against Georgia Tech
Pitt will continue its hunt for the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25 in a highly-anticipated matchup against Syracuse. That game, which is Pitt’s senior night game, will tip off at 5 p.m.
The free throw shooting was clutch tonight. They were something like 17-18 at the line, which really helped seal the deal.
Been I long time since I felt 20, feels good!
Yea baby! H2P
If I were describe tonight in one word, perseverance. On offense and defense, both teams fought like a nest of yellow jackets and a Panther. I was emotionally drained afterward.
Congratulations on winning 20.
Got a chip on their shoulder coming Saturday.
The next 2 games seem like easier games, but they will both be really tough games. Mike Breys last home game is gonna be crazy. Hopefully the experienced panthers have no letdowns against either team.
I am sincerely worried about Syracuse. And you’re right, ND at South Bend for Breys last game will not be easy either.
Don’t think any game is going to be easy this time of year. Every team is either fighting for a spot in the tournament or trying to spoil someone’s fun. Need to play better than that to beat Syracuse. Hope they do because I’d love to sweep the Orange and send Boeheim into retirement. You’re 78, Jim! Time to hang it up, you worm. Haha