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Pitt’s win-streak snapped in blowout loss at Wake Forest

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Pitt's William Jeffress boxes out Wake Forest's Andrew Carr on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)
Pitt's William Jeffress boxes out Wake Forest's Andrew Carr on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – In college basketball, sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. Pitt has been the windshield recently, winning five straight games. But late Tuesday night, the Panthers were just another mosquito splattered on the front of Wake Forest’s 3-point-powered semitruck.

Pitt saw its streak of victories come to an undramatic end inside the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as Kevin “Boopie” Miller scored 18 points and Hunter Sallis added 17 to help Wake Forest beat the Panthers 91-58.

It was the worst shooting performance of the season for Pitt (17-9, 8-7 ACC) as the Panthers made a season-low 29% of their field goals. Pitt also gave up a season-high in points to Wake Forest (17-9, 9-6).

“Congrats to Wake Forest,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “They were terrific. We were bad. It was an old-fashioned butt whupping… We did not defend throughout the whole game… It was an everything issue.”

Ishmael Leggett led Pitt in scoring with 15 points, while Jaland Lowe added 12 and Blake Hinson scored 10. It was Hinson’s lowest scoring total since a Jan. 23 win at Georgia Tech where he had just nine points.

Five Wake Forest players scored in double-digits. Joining Miller and Sallis were Cam Hildreth and his 13 points, 12 points from Efton Reid, and 10 points and eight rebounds from Andrew Carr. Wake outrebounded Pitt 39-29, and outscored the Panthers 38-10 in the paint.

After Lowe’s mid-range pullup jumper with 12:15 to play in the first half trimmed the deficit to just two points, the Demon Deacons then embarked on a 15-3 run. It was kickstarted by a two-handed dunk from Reid and highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Parker Friedrichsen.

Wake led by 12 points at the break after making 7-of-13 shots from behind the arc in the first half. The Deacs led by as much as 16 points in the opening half and held Hinson to just two points on 1-of-3 shooting.

The Demon Deacons then comfortably pulled away by starting the second half with a 20-4 run, which again began with a dunk by Reid and then featured 3-pointers from Sallis, Friedrichsen and Damari Monsanto. Wake went on to lead by as much as 33 points as the second half was largely uncompetitive.

Pitt is now 2-5 this season when allowing its opponent to make at least 10 shots from behind the arc, and 4-7 when letting its opponent shoot better than 32% from deep.

“I don’t know if there’s a lesson learned,” Capel said. “At this point in the season, you should be past learning lessons. We just have to be better, period.”

The Panthers’ winning streak – and Hinson’s hot shooting – was bound to break at some point. And because of that run of five straight wins, Pitt could afford to lose a game like this down the stretch and still make the NCAA Tournament field. But a win against Wake in Winston-Salem would’ve gone a long way as a resume booster. The Panthers could’ve gotten a Quad 1 win, which would’ve given them four such victories and tied them with Virginia Tech and Clemson for the third-most in the conference. Pitt also squandered an opportunity to be the first team to defeat the Deacs in Winston-Salem this season.

Instead, it’s Wake Forest that gets a Quad 2 victory and keeps their unbeaten home record intact.

Pitt will aim to bounce back on Saturday when it hosts another fellow ACC team on the March Madness bubble. Virginia Tech visits the Petersen Events Center for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff on The CW.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Kelvin Byrd
Kelvin Byrd
1 month ago

Nobody is surprised by this. Typical Capel trajectory.

Two steps forward. Two steps back.

Yawn.

Next.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
1 month ago

Wake decided to defend the freshman guards, which other teams were mostly not.
And they were like 7 of 30 from the field. Federeko was exposed with 1 point and 3 rebounds. Guess they were due for a bad one. No. 1 Uconn was routed on the road too. byt 25 points. Not many super good teams away from Home.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Yea the UCONN game was a shocker but the college road game is tough this season.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago

85-66 Is 19 genius……..

Toledo Window Box
Toledo Window Box
1 month ago

Ouch!

TJ
TJ
1 month ago

it was one of those games … wake couldn;t do any wrong. i mean, the prior 2 outings they shot <39% from field and <24% for 3s. last night, >60% and 50%. not many teams will lose with those percentages. let’s regroup and focus on the next one. H2P !

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Not the result we wanted or expected but winning on the road this season is tough. Hopefully we can bounce back and get back into the win column. I think we all knew the likelihood of us winning out the regular season was unrealistic. I think the upcoming Clemson game is concerning because they always have our number. Let’s take care of VT! H2P!

richard johnson
richard johnson
1 month ago

Until Pitt can get an inside game this is going to happen. Not pointing fingers or blaming this team but , you cannot shoot lights out every game. On to the next one.

GFF
GFF
1 month ago

Wake’s coaching staff had their team prepared.
Pitt, not so much.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago

Pitt played out of control all night; does Capel talk to his team at all during the game? Capel has to tell Hinson to MOVE and get open! Then, at least 2 times in the first half Hinson is wide open and a poor 3 point shooter not named Hinson launches a 3. Just miserable coaching (or lack thereof) by Capel. Given what was at stake, just inexplicable and inexcusable.

kmp30
kmp30
1 month ago

I want to see the stats, the correlation between road losses and 9pm start times vs 7pm start times. Let’s be clear I’m not making excuses, and this was a blowout so road or home it was a bad loss. But that is a long time to fart around in someone else’s arena, or at the hotel room, or wherever. Wondering if it is statistically significant.

Last edited 1 month ago by kmp30
BooBooTheFool
BooBooTheFool
1 month ago

I’ve never seen a program unable to handle success the way Pitt does, particularly in football and basketball.

Seems like as soon as they start to get some national recognition, they immediately STB

Chris Pap
Chris Pap
1 month ago
Reply to  BooBooTheFool

What does STB stand fot

T M
T M
1 month ago

The lack of Pitt player movement on offense became a problem vs Wake. Pitt players need to do a better job on screening Blake’s defender & then move quickly to the basket or to an open spot on the court… Just don’t stand there after setting a screen. The noticeable frustration with the Tobacco Road Refs was evident in Pitt player’s faces in the 1st half when Wake players were permitted to be overly physical with NO foul calls.. Pitt needs to bounce back with a motivated effort vs VT on Saturday!! Go after March Madness starting with the VT… Read more »

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago
Reply to  T M

Really? Whining about the refs? lol

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago

lol………..Great preparation from the “coach” Where are my pals Eric and “Pitt Guy”?

Eric Payne
Eric Payne
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

Pals???I know that you’re thinking of me. They had a bad night at the wrong time. Couldn’t shoot and couldn’t stop Ried. It’s ONLY one loss and they’re still in the race. Wake Forest is the BEST team in the ACC. Pitt will take care of Reid next year. Does your boss know that your playing on the company laptop???

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Payne

Yeah skippy aren’t we tight? “Best team in the ACC” lol they scored 47 points two days before. Your stupidity is almost refreshing.

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