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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Pitt men’s basketball cannot afford a slip up against Florida State

First-year+guard+Carlton+Carrington+%287%29+dribbles+against+Louisville+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center+on+Feb.+17.
Kaylee Uribe | Senior Staff Photographer
First-year guard Carlton Carrington (7) dribbles against Louisville in the Petersen Events Center on Feb. 17.

Pitt men’s basketball (19-10, 10-8 ACC) is gearing up for the final week of the regular season, which starts off with a home contest against Florida State (15-14, 9-9 ACC). The Panthers’ NCAA tournament dreams remain intact, though they cannot drop a trap game to the Seminoles on Tuesday night. 

In the first of its two games last week, Pitt squandered a massive opportunity on the road against Clemson in a 69-62 loss. The Panthers shot 32.8% from the field, their third-lowest mark of the season, while the Tigers put them away with 42 second-half points. The result didn’t doom Pitt’s at-large chances or its position on the bubble, but a win would have done wonders for its resumé. 

The Panthers got back on track in a 90-65 rout of Boston College. The victory was their seventh on the road this season, tying them for the most among Power Six conference teams. First-year guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington recorded a career-high 27 points and seven three-pointers in the contest. As a whole, Pitt shot at a 54.1% clip overall and 53.3% on 30 attempts from behind the arc in one of its most complete performances of the year. 

The Panthers also added an interesting new wrinkle to their lineup by playing junior center Federiko Federiko and sophomore forward Guillermo Diaz Graham together against the Eagles. With senior forward Blake Hinson in foul trouble, the two big men played the final 7:43 of the first half together and helped Pitt hold Boston College to nine points thereafter. They also combined for 11 points of their own during that stretch, and perhaps head coach Jeff Capel will continue experimenting with that pairing moving forward. 

With momentum swinging back in its favor, Pitt is set up nicely as the season nears its conclusion. The Panthers still have their work cut out for them as they hunt down a bid to the NCAA tournament, but their fate in that regard largely rests in their own hands. If Pitt can win their final two regular-season games, then it could potentially earn a double-bye in the ACC tournament while simultaneously boosting its chances of playing in the Big Dance. 

With that said, Pitt also cannot overlook Florida State. The Seminoles currently are among the middle of the pack in the conference standings and upset the Panthers on their home floor last season. The two programs have not yet faced one another this year, but Pitt is in for a challenge against a pesky opponent. 

Senior guard Darin Green Jr. and junior guard Primo Spears are Florida State’s primary playmakers in the backcourt. Green Jr. ranks second on the team with 11.2 points per game on 40.8% shooting from the field and 37.4% from three-point range. Spears is third on the team in scoring as he averages 10.8 points while also tallying 2.4 assists a contest. Junior guard Jalen Warley is worth keeping an eye on off the bench as he is tied for the team lead in assists. 

Florida State’s frontcourt features redshirt junior forward Jamir Watkins, who is the team’s leading scorer with 15.1 points a night. He is currently shooting 46.5% from the field while also pacing the team with 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Sophomore forward Cam Corhen is a force down low as he scores 9.0 points a game on 63.1% shooting. Sophomore forward Baba Miller rounds out the unit as a scoring threat from all levels of the floor, who is also the Seminoles’ premier rim protector on 1.1 blocks per game. 

The Seminoles’ offense, when compared to their ACC foes, is a bit of a mixed bag. They average 76.4 points a game, which is the seventh-highest total in the conference, while placing eighth in field goal percentage at 45.4%. Florida State does struggle with three-point shooting and ball movement, however, coming in at No. 13 in both categories. 

Florida State’s defense doesn’t grade out much better. It allows 75.4 points per game, the second-lowest mark in the ACC, on 44.5% shooting overall and 35.3% from behind the arc. The Seminoles do force the most turnovers per game in the conference at 15.1, however, which could play a part in Tuesday’s matchup. 

Pitt’s season is largely on the line as Florida State rolls into town hoping it can play spoiler. The Panthers should feel confident about their chances, but earning a win is easier said than done against a formidable Seminoles squad. 

Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center. Coverage will air on ESPN2. 

 

About the Contributor
Jack Markowski, Senior Staff Writer