The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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Sports news students may have missed over winter break

Senior+forward+Blake+Hinson+%282%29+attempts+to+shoot+the+ball+during+Pitt+mens+basketballs+game+against+Canisius+on+Saturday+Dec+9%2C+2023.+
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Senior forward Blake Hinson (2) attempts to shoot the ball during Pitt men’s basketball’s game against Canisius on Saturday Dec 9, 2023.

Many students may feel disconnected from Pitt athletics after coming back to campus following winter break. Between spending time with family and trying to survive nearly a month in their hometowns, many students may not have had time to cheer on the Panthers over the break.

But fear not, for The Pitt News has compiled all the biggest sports stories that happened over break to get returning students back into the loop of Pitt athletics. Here’s how the Panthers’ three biggest winter programs — men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling — fared over the break.

Men’s Basketball

Pitt men’s basketball played in five games over the winter break, going 3-2 in that stretch. The Panthers took care of business against three weaker opponents — SC State, Purdue FW and Louisville. But Pitt couldn’t quite stack up against quality ACC opponents, falling to both Syracuse and North Carolina. 

The Panthers began their winter break schedule with an 86-50 route of SC State on Dec. 16. The game was never really in question, as three Panthers — redshirt senior forwards Blake Hinson and Zach Austin and first-year guard Carlton Carrington — put up double-digit performances to carry Pitt to the victory. 

Pitt followed up its route of SC State with a hard-fought 62-48 victory over Purdue FW. The Mastodons put up a strong defensive effort, holding the Panthers to their worst scoring performance of the season. But Pitt managed to grind out a victory behind solid performances from Austin, Carrington and sophomore forward Guillermo Diaz Graham. 

The Panthers’ four-game win streak finally came to an end in their next matchup, as they fell 81-73 to Syracuse on the road. Following a strong start, Pitt held a 38-30 lead going into halftime. But the Orange quickly rebounded in the second half, outsourcing the Panthers 51-35 in the period to take the win. 

And the Panthers’ troubles continue in their next game against North Carolina, falling to the Tar Heels 70-57 on Jan. 2. Both teams battled back and forth early, but the Tar Heels secured the lead right before halftime and never gave it up. Carrington still managed to put up a strong performance despite the loss, posting 20 points. 

But the Panthers’ luck finally changed in their final matchup of winter break against Lousiville. The Panthers routed the Cardinals 83-70 to secure their first ACC win of the season. 

Pitt women’s basketball

Pitt women’s basketball’s struggles continue. The Panthers completely fell flat over the break, going 1-5 in that stretch. Pitt’s lone win of winter break came against Le Moyne, as the Panthers routed the inferior Dolphins 56-39. 

But the Panthers failed completely in their other five games over break. Pitt began its losing stretch with a 73-62 loss to Ball State. The Cardinals completely dominated the Panthers throughout the game, outsourcing Pitt in all four quarters.

The Panthers rebounded slightly against Georgia on Dec. 20, as they only lost 65-59. The Panthers managed to keep the game close through three quarters, but the Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure the win. 

Pitt’s worst loss of the break came at the hands of No. 11 Virginia Tech on Dec. 31. The Hokies crushed the Panthers, cruising to a 91-41 victory. This was Pitt’s worst loss of the season by a wide margin. 

But the Panthers managed to rebound against No. 18 Notre Dame on Jan. 4. Pitt looked fully capable of completing the major upset, as it outscored Notre Dame 18-8 in the third quarter to take a 48-47 lead. But the Fighting Irish pulled away in the fourth quarter, outsourcing the Panthers 24-18 to take home the win. 

Pitt finished out its winter break with another loss to Georgia Tech on Jan. 7. The Panthers now stand in second to last in the ACC with an abysmal 0-3 conference record. 

Wrestling

Coming off a major upset win over No. 5 Ohio State the week prior, Pitt wrestling had massive expectations as it traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, for the National Collegiate Duals on Dec. 18. But the Panthers couldn’t quite live up to the hype, finishing 1-2 in the duals.

The Panthers began the duals with a tough test, as they faced No. 6 Iowa State to start the day. Pitt put up a strong fight but ultimately fell 21-14 to the Cyclones. 

Pitt struggled mightily following the narrow loss to Iowa State. The Panthers faced a 27-12 blowout loss to No. 5 Cornell before barely defeating Little Rock 22-21. 

Redshirt sophomore Luca Augustine was the only Panther to go 3-0 at the duals. The 174-pound wrestler fared extremely well in Nashville, defeating two top-25 opponents during his perfect day.

About the Contributor
Brian Sherry, Sports Editor