No. 25 Pitt Comes up Short in Battle for First Place in ACC, Falls to No. 16 Miami 78-76
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Pitt’s run at an ACC regular season championship came to an end on Saturday night, as Blake Hinson’s deep three-point try in the final seconds missed and the Panthers fell to No. 16 Miami by a score of 78-76 in a battle for the top spot in the conference.
Trailing by as many as nine points in the second half, Pitt scrapped its way back into the game behind Hinson, Nike Sibande and company. With 3:30 remaining, Hinson nailed a corner three pointer — his fifth of the game — to cut Miami’s lead down to three. However, Miami sharpshooter Wooga Poplar answered with his sixth three of the night, sending the Miami crowd into a frenzy and the Hurricanes one step closer to a share of the regular season ACC title.
With 25 seconds to go trailing by five points, Pitt had climbed all the way back into its battle against the Hurricanes but it felt as though Miami had the win in their hands. However, Hinson, in his home state of Florida, was not going to give up just yet.
With 13 seconds left, Hinson drained a fadeaway three — his sixth of the night — cutting Miami’s lead to two. Pitt then fouled Miami’s Omier, he missed his first free throw, and the Panthers had a chance to tie — or even win — the game. Hinson tried another miracle three for the win in the final seconds, but it bounced off the rim and Pitt’s hopes at an ACC regular season title were all out.
Hinson led Pitt with 24 points on the night, followed by Sibande’s 16 and Burton’s 13. Point guard Nelly Cummings dished out a team-high six assists, and contributed 10 points of his own.
For Miami, Poplar shot his way to a team-high 18 points, followed by Miller’s 17 and Norchad Omier’s 15. The Hurricanes severely out-rebounded Pitt all night long, grabbing 42 boards to Pitt’s 20. With the win, Miami claimed a share of its first ACC regular season title since 2013.
The high-stakes matchup lived up to the hype from the start, as both teams delivered with highlight plays throughout the first half.
Pitt locked up Miami star Isaiah Wong early on, forcing him to miss his first four field-goal attempts, including two airballs. The Panthers looked to Burton and Hinson for scoring production, and also received a team-best nine points from Nike Sibande off the bench in the first half. When the Panthers need a spark, they looked to Sibande and fellow reserve Jorge Diaz-Graham — who hit two threes in the half.
In the tail end of the first half, Miami’s Poplar took over the game with three three pointers in a five-minute span, building the Hurricanes lead up to six.
The Hurricanes hit their first three three-point tries of the second frame and stayed hot from beyond the arch throughout the rest of the game.
With the loss, Pitt fell to 21-10 on the year and 14-6 in ACC play. The Panthers dropped from the top spot of the conference and are now joined at the six-loss mark by Clemson and Duke, behind Virginia and Miami who finished wth five conference losses.
The ACC Tournament kicks off on Tuesday, March 7.
Capel is EXACTLY who we thought he was.
Please explain. We lost by 2 to a very good Miami team on the road with a chance to tie or win on the last possession. This was a very well played game by both teams. If we play with that type of effort (and hopefully better rebounding), we’ll be a hard out in the NCAA tournament. The Notre Dame game was a poor effort. This, however, was not. Capel should be the national coach of the year.
Are you new here?
maybe you’ve been here too long?
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