Panthers dominate Northwestern in ACC-Big Ten Challenge 87-58


Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

Guard Jamarius Burton (11) dribbles the ball during the Pitt vs. Minnesota men’s basketball game at the Petersen Events Center on Nov. 30.

By Jermaine Sykes, Staff Writer

The Panthers traveled to Illinois to face the Northwestern Wildcats (5-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) on Monday night. The matchup was the final game in the 24-year-old ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

It was also a clash between former teammates. Panthers head coach Jeff Capel and Wildcats head coach Chris Collins played and coached together at Duke earlier in their careers. 

The Panthers pounced on the Wildcats, winning 87-58 and giving the ACC a 2-0 lead in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Junior forward Blake Hinson led all scorers with 20, but it was an all-around successful night offensively for the Panthers

It started as a defensive struggle, with the Panthers and Wildcats scoring just 10 combined points through the first 6:02 of the game. 

The teams traded shots until Hinson sunk a three-pointer, which graduate student guard Nelly Cummings followed up with two three-pointers of his own. Pitt went on an 11-0 run to take a 27-16 lead late in the first half. 

The Panthers went into halftime with a 37-28 lead over the Wildcats. Cummings led all scorers with 10 points in the first half along with three rebounds and three assists. Hinson added another nine points and two assists. 

The Panthers’ 37 points are the most the Wildcats allowed in a half all season.

Coming into the game, the Wildcats had the No. 4 ranked scoring defense in the NCAA. But the Panthers dominated them in the second half.

The Panthers went on a 14-2 run to start the second half. Graduate student guard Greg Elliott was the heart of this barrage of scoring, with seven quick points.

Elliott averaged just eight points per game entering Monday’s contest, but exploded for 13 in the second half. Elliott was perfect down the stretch, going 3-3 from beyond the arc.

Rebounding was another point of emphasis for the Panthers. Hinson led the Panthers with eight. The Panthers out-rebounded the Wildcats by 11 in the second half and completely dominated the Wildcats on the boards. 

Five players scored more than 10 points for the Panthers, with Hinson, Elliott and Cummings all eclipsing double digits along with graduate student guard Jamarius Burton and senior Nike Sibande adding 14 and 11, respectively. 

The Panthers have scored at least 80 points in their last three games. They’ll look to continue their winning streak in their first conference game of the season on Friday at NC State. Fans can watch the game at 7 p.m. on the ACC Network.