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

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Pitt men’s basketball handles the pressure, defeats Duke 80-76

Junior+center+Federiko+Federiko+%2833%29+dunks+during+Tuesday+night%E2%80%99s+game+against+Syracuse+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Nate Yonamine | Assistant Visual Editor
Junior center Federiko Federiko (33) dunks during Tuesday night’s game against Syracuse at the Petersen Events Center.

In the preview for the Pitt men’s basketball matchup against No. 7 Duke, The Pitt News believed that Brian Cook’s quote from, “The Thin Blue Line: Perception is Deception,” best described Pitt men’s basketball’s current state before their matchup against Duke. 

“Pressure does two things — bursts pipes and creates diamonds. Which one are you?” Cook said.

And today, Pitt men’s basketball went to Durham, North Carolina, and created diamonds. 

The Panthers took down the highly-touted Blue Devils 80-76 in a season-defining upset. Senior forward Blake Hinson led the Panthers to the win with a 24-point performance while shooting seven of seven from beyond the arc. Hinson’s efforts tied an ACC record for most three-point makes without a miss.

Pitt started the game on fire, knowing what a victory would do for its season. The Panthers were perfect from the floor in the first 2:30, with four separate players making a field goal. Pitt’s perfection from the floor forced Duke to call a timeout with Pitt out to an early 9-0 lead.

Off the Duke timeout, the Blue Devils scored their first points of the game, taking away the Panthers’ chances of a shutout in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke’s first points of the game gave Pitt an 11-5 advantage at the media timeout.

The Panthers kept pushing after the timeout. Hinson, who had struggled recently, especially blossomed. The Deltona, Florida native hit nothing but the bottom of the net on his first two shots from three.

Hinson’s three-pointers helped the Panthers own a 19-10 lead with 11:25 left in the first half. But the Blue Devils got hot from three after this media timeout by making two straight three-pointers. This forced Pitt head coach Jeff Capel to call timeout with Pitt still holding a 21-16 lead.

The Blue Devils’ shot-making continued after Pitt’s timeout with another three-pointer, making it a one-possession lead for the Panthers. Hinson, however, tried to put a stop to this by making a layup in transition. But the Blue Devils responded with a two-point field goal by graduate student center Ryan Young. Duke sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor then headed to the free throw line after the timeout with a chance to  tie the game at 23-23

Proctor converted both of his free throws and first-year guard Jared McCain made a three-pointer soon after. But the Panthers refused to let the game slip away, as they responded to the difficulties with a 13-4 run.

The 13-4 run was led by the Panthers making shots all over the floor. First-year guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington added a mid-ranger, Hinson added a three-pointer and junior center Federiko Federiko converted an alley-oop. The 13-4 run gave the Panthers a 36-30 lead at the under four minute media timeout.

Pitt’s 13-4 run included some aggressive moments, as Leggett dove after the ball, giving the Panthers the ball after Duke sophomore center Kyle Filipowski gave up on the play. The Panthers didn’t score in transition, but they showed they wanted it more.

The Blue Devils had a minor advantage during these aggressive moments finishing the half trailing the Panthers 38-34.

Hinson kept up his dominant performance in the second half by making a three-pointer with a hand directly in his face. Then, after the teams traded shots, Hinson’s passion caused the refs to call a technical foul for saying something to McCain while he was at the free-throw line. 

This inexplicable technical foul call allowed the Blue Devils to come roaring back and tie the game at 45. Leggett calmed the Duke storm by making an and-one layup before the under 16-minute media timeout. 

After getting subbed out by Capel because of his foul trouble, Hinson responded by turning the pressure into diamonds. The Blue Devils initially took a one-point lead at 50-49, but Hinson is built for this pressure. 

The senior forward hit two straight three-pointers and completely quieted the Cameron Crazies, causing a Duke timeout with the Panthers leading 55-50 with 12:38 left in the game.

The Blue Devils responded to Hinson’s shooting by face-guarding him the entire time he was on offense. Duke’s strategy worked for them as it got hot from deep on offense and slowed down Pitt’s offense. The Blue Devils had a chance to take a one-point lead off the under-eight media timeout.

Filipowski made both of his free throws after the timeout, giving the Blue Devils a 62-61 advantage. The team exchanged punches until Hinson’s offensive presence returned as he hit his seventh three-pointer in as many attempts, which gave Pitt a 67-65 lead. Then, after redshirt junior Zach Austin added two free throws, the Panthers led the Blue Devils 69-65 with 3:35 left.

Carrington then hit a clutch three-pointer to make it a five-point lead for the Panthers.

But on the following possession, the Blue Devils got a huge break. Proctor was clearly out of bounds when he “saved” the ball and threw it at Pitt’s first-year guard Jaland Lowe. But the officials didn’t see it and gave Duke the ball. This missed call ended up allowing McCain to get a layup, making it a one-possession game rather than a two-possession game.

On Duke’s next possession, McCain converted another layup, shrinking the Panthers lead to one point. Lowe quickly slowed McCain’s comeback efforts with a three-pointer, giving the Panthers a four-point lead with 43 seconds left in the game.

After Lowe’s clutch basket, the Panthers forced a huge stop, but failed on the inbound pass, giving Duke the ball back. Once more, the Panthers forced a stop, as Federiko handled the rebound and was sent to the free-throw line. The Helsinki, Finland native went one of two, giving Pitt a 76-71 advantage. 

The Panthers and Blue Devils then went back and forth at the free-throw line, both going one of two. Filipowski responded to the back-and-forth with a three-pointer, putting a huge scare in the Panthers’ thoughts of upsetting Duke. Pitt now led 77-75. 

Off of Filipowski’s three pointer, Lowe was clutch at the free throw line, going two of two. Lowe’s efforts basically salted away the game, giving Pitt a 79-75 lead. But on the next Duke possession, Federiko fouled Proctor on a three-point attempt, but he went one of three from the line. 

After Proctor went one of three at the line, Hinson truly salted away the game and immediately taunted the Cameron Crazies from press row. The Panthers left Durham with an 80-76 victory.

 

About the Contributor
Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer