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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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Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
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Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
Opinion | Return of the summer bucket list
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • May 28, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Pitt men’s basketball humbled by Wake Forest

Redshirt+junior+forward+William+Jeffress+%2824%29+plays+defense+during+Wednesday+nights+game+against+Wake+Forest+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center.+
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Redshirt junior forward William Jeffress (24) plays defense during Wednesday night’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.

Resembling a popular menu item in an Oakland chicken spot, Pitt men’s basketball (17-9, 8-7 ACC) came into Tuesday night’s game against Wake Forest, “Damn Hot.” Dominating in seven of their last eight, the Panthers looked to grab their sixth consecutive win against the Demon Deacons (17-9, 9-6 ACC). 

Dropping two straight, Wake Forest hoped to defend Winston-Salem and preserve their undefeated home record. Neck and neck on the ACC standings and approaching Selection Sunday, this game was undoubtedly important for both sides. 

In their last matchup on Jan. 31, the Panthers got the better of the Demon Deacons, but tonight was sweet revenge for Wake Forest in a crushing 91-58 defeat over the Panthers.

The first half told the story of the hometown team. Wake Forest got on the board first with a three, the start of a nasty trend through the first 20 minutes of the game. The Demon Deacons went lights out from beyond the arc, relentlessly firing shots and hitting 53.8% of their threes in the first period. A slew of Pitt defensive breakdowns and turnovers helped Wake Forest get out to an early forefront, leading by as much as 16 at one point. 

Two key Demon Deacons were junior guard Hunter Sallis and sophomore guard Kevin “Boopie” Miller, with each player putting up 10 points and combining for four of Wake Forest’s overall seven makes from downtown.

First-year guard Jaland Lowe helped give the Panthers life, knocking down shots and making plays. He finished the half with 10 points while making plays for his team to keep Pitt’s offense rolling. Lowe brought clutch energy and scoring in the first half when the Panthers relied on him most. 

Scrappy Pitt buckets, second-chance opportunities from offensive rebounds and made foul shots allowed the Panthers to keep it relatively close heading into the break. Wake Forest led 45-33 at halftime. 

To start the second half, Pitt couldn’t buy a bucket and Wake Forest took advantage of their lack of scoring. Wake outscored Pitt 22-to-10 in the top of the second period.

Sallis and Miller carried on with their first-half hot hands. The backcourt duo ended with 17 and 18 points, respectively, leading the Demon Deacons in scoring. 

Early in the second half, back-to-back Demon Deacon three-pointers pushed the Wake Forest lead to 27. Five Wake Forest players ended the game in double digits. 

Junior guard Ishmael Leggett connected on a few jumpers here and there to give Panther fans a glimpse of hope, but it was still no match for the onslaught of Wake Forest baskets. Leggett led the Panthers in scoring with a team-high 15 points on an efficient 5-for-10 shooting performance.

Wake Forest found a common catalyst of their scoring came from fast-break opportunities. The Demon Deacons scored 12 points in transition to Pitt’s 3. Pitt’s lack of scoring hurt them and the Panthers shot a pitiful 16.7% from the field on the night. 

Pitt knocked down some sporadic, garbage-time shots, but it was too little and too late, as Pitt fell 91-58 to Wake Forest.

Pitt returns to the court this Saturday at home as they take on Virginia Tech (15-11, 7-8 ACC) in a must-win ACC matchup. Fans can catch the game on the ACC Network.

About the Contributor
Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer
Aidan Kasner is a first-year student studying Media and Professional Communications.