Weekend Sports Update | Men’s basketball improves in ACC play, swim and dive wins Backyard Brawl


TPN File Photo

Senior Pitt wrestler Cole Matthews celebrates a win against Arizona State’s Cleveland Belton on Jan. 14, 2022.

By David Scott, Staff Writer

Many of Pitt’s winter sports stayed active over the weekend, with swimming and diving, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, track and field, wrestling and gymnastics continuing their January slates. From rivalry wins to underwhelming starts, here’s how the teams fared in their competitions.


No. 25 Pitt dominated at home, shutting out Buffalo 37-0 on Friday. The 6-2 Panthers started early, grabbing bonus points in the first four matches of the day.

Junior Colton Camacho (125 pounds) and No. 3 senior Cole Matthews (141 pounds) each won via technical fall and No. 8 senior Micky Phillippi (133 pounds) and No. 29 sophomore Tyler Badgett (149 pounds) won by decision to put the Panthers up 18-0.

Senior Dazjon Casto (157 pounds) secured a 1-0 win, which propelled the team to decision victories from No. 30 Senior Holden Heller (165 pounds), first year Luca Augustine (174 pounds) and junior Reece Heller (184 pounds). No. 2 senior Nino Bonaccorsi (197 pounds) secured Pitt’s fifth bonus-point victory with a 13-3 win in his match.

The victory set up some momentum for the Panthers, who begin ACC play Friday, Jan. 20, at Virginia.

Men’s Basketball

Men’s basketball earned a 71-60 bounce-back victory against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday. The win bumped the Panthers to 12-6 (5-2 ACC), which is tied for second in the ACC.

Senior guard Nike Sibande stole the spotlight in the matchup, scoring a season-high 21 points. Graduate guard Jamarius Burton, junior forward Blake Hinson and graduate guard Nelly Cummings all tallied double-digit points as well. Burton went 7-7 at the foul line, bolstering the Panthers’ 17-20 shooting on free throws. The Panthers outscored the Yellow Jackets 17-0 from the stripe.

Sophomore center Federiko Federiko had a quiet yet impactful game. In his 35 minutes of action, the 6-foot-11 center only had three points but tallied seven rebounds, two steals and three blocks. He helped Pitt hold Georgia Tech to just four threes in the second half.

Pitt heads to Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday to close out a three-game road trip.

Women’s Basketball

Pitt women’s basketball isn’t finding the same success as the men’s team so far. On Sunday, the Panthers lost at home to Clemson 72-57, marking their fifth loss in a row. The struggling Panthers are now 7-10 (0-6 ACC) and second to last in the ACC.

Sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson led the Panthers in scoring on Sunday, dropping 15 points in the match. Junior forward Liatu King fared well, scoring 10 points while pulling in 13 rebounds and two blocks. Senior forward Amber Brown also scored 10 points and notched three assists and two steals in 35 minutes of play.

Pitt couldn’t contain Clemson’s senior forward Amari Robinson who put up 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She shot 8-12 on the day. The Panthers also lost in the paint to senior forward Hannah Hank, who tallied 12 rebounds and eight assists against them.

Pitt will welcome No. 13 Virginia Tech to the Petersen Events Center on Thursday, hoping to end its losing streak and pick up its first ACC win.

Swimming and Diving

The Backyard Brawl made its way to the pool this weekend as Pitt and West Virginia faced off in men’s and women’s swimming and diving. It was a successful senior day, as the women’s team defeated the Mountaineers 182-116 and the men’s team won 183-115.

The women’s squad won 11 of the 16 events en route to their victory, moving them to 42-6 all-time against West Virginia. The men’s team also won 11 of the 16 events, improving to 43-16 all-time against the Mountaineers.

“Our women’s team did a fantastic job of racing tough across the board today,” said head coach Chase Kreitler. “This was a total team effort between divers and swimmers to send our seniors off with a win in the Backyard Brawl… Our men’s team did a great job of competing on the boards and in the pool against WVU.”

Swimming and diving continues Jan. 27 and 28, when Pitt hosts the Western PA Invite. The team then travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete against No. 13 Michigan and No. 16 Wisconsin.

Track and Field

The Panthers competed at the Nittany Lion Challenge in University Park this weekend.

Pitt had multiple athletes finish on the podium in various events. Jack Balick finished first in the men’s 800m with a time of 1:52.09. Emily Brown finished second in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:16.33. Nigel Hussey placed second in the men’s 200m with a time of 21.49 and Imani Clark placed second in the women’s 200m with a time of 24.29. Trey Gannon won the men’s 1-mile race with a time of 4:09.41.

Pitt also won the men’s 4×400 and the women’s 4×400.

The Panthers get a week off before traveling to the Lenny Lyles Invitational in Louisville on Jan. 27-28.

Women’s Gymnastics

Women’s gymnastics had a tough weekend at the Wasatch Classic quad meet on Saturday night. The 3-3 Panthers lost to No. 3 Cal, No. 16 Iowa and No 26 Oregon State. Pitt finished the event with a total score of 193.650.

Pitt will continue its road trip at NC State in a tri-meet against N.C. State and George Washington University on Saturday.